publication date: Jan. 29, 2021

An Appreciation

Simone, oncology polymath and leader

By Robert C. Young,  MD


Simone with a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1970. 

Photo courtesty of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Joe Simone was oncology’s polymath. Skilled and adept in patient care, scientific and clinical discovery, administrative leadership, education as well as mentoring to a generation of oncologists through his writings.

Over the years we worked together on many shared endeavors including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and many cancer policymaking organizations. He was forever creative, insightful and astute. 

But Joe’s genuine affection and respect for his colleagues and friends spilled over into everything he did.

Joe and I ran for president of ASCO in the same year. With the organization heavily weighted toward medical oncologists rather than pediatricians, that more than anything else enabled me to win.

Shortly after the election I received a handwritten letter from Joe. It said, in essence, that although he had hoped he would win, he was very pleased to see me in that role and hoped that we would have many opportunities to work together in the future.

Thirty years later, I still have that letter. Joe made a lasting impact on oncology and as well as on so many of his colleagues.

He will remain forever in the lives of so many of us. 

The author is the former president, chief executive officer, and chancellor,

Fox Chase Cancer Center


Joseph V. Simone’s book, “Simone’s Maxims,” is available for download through the Cancer History Project.

Copyright (c) 2021 The Cancer Letter Inc.