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Addressing the Psychosocial Needs of Cancer Survivors

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. George Shenouda, Department of Radiation Oncology, Montreal General Hospital:

 

Since the turn of the century, cancer has become the leading cause of death in adults.  Due to an aging population and advances in screening and early diagnosis, more and more patients will be diagnosed and cured from their cancers. These patients will undergo oncological treatments which have a significant impact on the rest of their lives.

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Cancer and Scientific Breakthrough

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. R. Daniel Bonfil, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Departments of Urology and Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine:

Let’s face it – the term “cancer” still paralyzes everyone who is diagnosed with one of the more than 100 types of diseases grouped under the term, even if it’s potentially curable.  There is no doubt that most of the victorious therapies in some forms of cancer are obscured by less effective treatments in others, leading to this general feeling of hopelessness.

Today we know that very few common denominators exist for cancer, making it essential to understand the unique molecular mechanisms that drive each type of this disease to develop effective “tailored” therapies.  As a basic scientist in cancer research, I am happy to see how the translational research gap has been steadily bridged during the last few years, prompting an increasing number of laboratory investigators and practicing oncologists to embark upon the laudable task of rapidly moving new discoveries from the bench to the clinic.

Many clear victories over specific cancers have been lately obtained by crossing this so called “valley of death”.  Hopefully, breakthroughs in genomics, proteomics, and nanotechnology – among other areas – along with the breach of the gap between basic and clinical research, will help treating, diagnosing, and preventing cancer diseases and increase the survival rate of cancer patients in ways we could never imagine.

 

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Life After Cancer

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. Martin Chasen,  Associate Professor, Division of Palliative Care, University of Ottawa:

For the 5,000,000-plus people who are alive after having been diagnosed with cancer, the largest gap occurs in the period after the acute treatment of the cancer and the time of recurrence of the disease.  By extension, this includes those patients whose disease remains in remission and cured.

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Coping With Stress and Fatigue After Cancer

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. Karin Olson, Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta.

 

My work has been focused on the management of symptoms during [cancer] treatment but I am gradually beginning to study symptoms that continue following the completion of treatment.

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Towards Fundamental Research Contribution in Cancer Survivorships

We asked our Current Oncology Section Editors how they would define the term “life after cancer” and how that theme presents itself in their chosen fields.  Below is a response from Dr. Michel L. Tremblay,Director of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University:

 

The rising number of cancer survivors is a great testimony of the advances in clinical treatments. Applications of novel technologies that basic sciences discover and that clinical research moved forward will be significantly added to the oncologist toolbox in the coming years. We can state with great optimism that those will contribute to a rapid augmentation in the number of cancer survivors. Although a crucial clinical follow up plan takes the stage for a life after cancer, much ongoing research into pain management and psychosocial issues are already addressing these essential concerns for survivors.

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Privatization is not an answer to health care access problems, increased public funding is

by Ervin B. Podgorsak, PhD.

This article can be found here:  Current Oncology

The most important characteristics of a health care system are its quality, access, and cost. The Canadian health care system is of high quality; however, access to it is definitely problematic, and arguably, its cost is high.

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