Editorial policies + Ethics statement
Who we are:
The Cancer Letter is an independent publication founded by Jerry D. Boyd in 1973. It has been continuously in publication since that time. Learn more about our history.
Ownership, funding, and disclosures
The Cancer Letter is privately owned, with 100 percent of shares owned by Paul Goldberg, editor and publisher. When conflicts of interest occur on our part, they are managed primarily through disclosure.
In reportage, our loyalty is owed entirely to our readers. Over 90 percent of The Cancer Letter’s revenues come from subscriptions, less than 10 percent from advertising, and only a fraction of advertising comes from pharmaceutical companies. Learn more about our advertising policies.
The Cancer Letter staff members are precluded from directly investing in pharmaceutical companies or data companies engaged in cancer.
A list of institutions, government agencies, and organizations that have institutional subscriptions to The Cancer Letter appears here.
The Cancer Letter publishes news stories and opinion pieces. Both are forms of journalism, and both are clearly labeled. We are committed to unbiased, balanced coverage grounded in respect for evidence-based medicine, and the principles of peer review, appropriate management of conflicts, health equity, and social justice.
Issues of The Cancer Letter include news and commentary. Our news articles are written by staff reporters in accordance with the highest standards of journalism.
The Cancer Letter relies on credible sources at the highest levels to provide information you can trust. We believe in expanding our universe of sources to avoid depending exclusively on the same few key experts. We seek out new sources—especially emerging voices and those from underrepresented groups. We aspire to accurately reflect the changing pace and demographics of oncology, and recognize voices that have been historically marginalized. This requires an ongoing, concerted effort. We believe this is essential not only to providing fair and balanced coverage, but to achieving health equity.
The Cancer Letter reporters are encouraged to rely on sources identified by name. However, reporting on controversial issues sometimes necessitates protecting a source’s identity. In those instances, the sources’ claims are vetted—including by the editor of The Cancer Letter—and, when possible, corroborated by multiple parties to ensure accuracy.
As we gather information, we rely on a variety of sources, both named and confidential:
- On the Record: Sources speaking at public meetings, such as the National Cancer Advisory Board and the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, are regarded as on-the-record sources and are subject to being quoted. When having conversations that are not on the record, our reporters will initiate a discussion to clarify the terms of the interview.
- On Background: Conversations on background can be either paraphrased or quoted without attribution to a specific source.
- Off the Record: Information obtained off-the-record can be used to inform coverage generally, without attribution, and can be used to formulate questions that can be posed to other sources.
We will protect confidential and non-confidential sources, and have done so in court on multiple occasions.
In 2015, we won an important ruling on protection of non-confidential sources (Paul B. Goldberg v. Amgen, Inc.). In 2019, we continued to offer protection to an unnamed source who we later learned wasn’t truthful with our reporter (The Cancer Letter, May 31, 2019).
For all submitted commentary pieces, the authors’ conflicts should be disclosed. Disclosure is the responsibility of the author.
The Cancer Letter is committed to vetting all submissions using editorial judgment, journalistic ethics, and external sources. We are a news publication, not a peer-reviewed journal. The Cancer Letter labels all external submissions as commentary or opinion pieces.
When errors occur—rare, but inevitable—The Cancer Letter is committed to correcting the record as quickly as possible. Minor corrections are amended in the story immediately. More significant errors can be addressed in one of three ways:
- The story is corrected and re-published with a footnote,
- The correction is published separately and appended to the original story, or
- An editor’s note or follow-up story is published to discuss the correction in detail, and the original story is appended with a link.