by Kelly McBride Folkers and Arthur L. Caplan, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine
Over the past decade, cancer research and treatment has advanced well beyond what scientists thought possible. The rhetoric around cancer certainly has changed, and breaking its fearful grip on patients and their loved ones seems more within reach than ever. Vice President Joe Biden’s chairmanship of the cancer “moonshot” project is just one example of our society’s hopefulness that we can, once and for all, beat cancer.
by Jonathan Agin, CKN Childhood Cancer Advocacy Co-Editor
In the United States these days, there are discussions of the moon, precision medicine, targeted therapies, priority review vouchers and moving into the 21st Century. These are all buzzwords that touch directly or indirectly upon the efforts to treat cancer and other diseases in our population. These efforts are intricate and complicated to say the least, and at the end of the day, the childhood cancer advocacy community is playing a game of musical chairs in an effort to find a seat at the table. Ultimately, there is no way of knowing just what role our voices will play, and more importantly, what the overall impact will be upon the childhood cancer community as a result of these initiatives. Nonetheless, the simple fact that there are these potential opportunities to see gains is enough to warrant tempered optimism.
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.