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Cancer Care

How We Can Unite and Conquer Cancer for Our Future

Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, M.D., FACP, FASCO

President, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Extraordinary progress has been made in the past decade that has helped us better understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer — progress that gives real hope to people facing a cancer diagnosis today. In America alone, there are more than 15 million people living with a history of cancer, and this number is projected to grow to nearly 22 million within the next 10 years. 

The lynchpin of this progress has always been, and continues to be, clinical research — a process through which we learn from and build on the efforts of untold numbers of researchers, clinicians, and patients. Recent advances in cancer care highlighted at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting indicate continued momentum for progress against cancer — more patients than ever before are benefitting from precision medicine. 

We are taking better aim at the unique drivers of each cancer and giving new treatment options to patients with pancreatic cancer, children with certain brain tumors, and younger women with breast cancer. We are finding new ways to use less chemotherapy without compromising outcomes, while also decreasing harsh side effects. 

The road ahead

A continued path of progress will not be easy and myriad challenges lie ahead; cancer is not just one simple disease. There are more than 200 types of it, which makes finding cures and treatments more difficult. In addition, too few patients enroll in clinical trials, and complex factors, such as insurance status, geographic location, and rising costs, contribute to inequities in cancer care. 

I am optimistic, however, that we will rise to meet this challenge. The cancer community is already tackling these issues and by working together for our future, we will continue to build on the momentum and progress achieved over the last decades. 

In the next 10 years, let us unearth new scientific discoveries through increased clinical trial enrollment. Let us level the playing field through policy changes that ensure every person has access to high-quality cancer care. Let us find ways to lower costs, develop innovative partnerships, and cultivate a new generation of cancer doctors so people diagnosed with cancer can live longer, better lives. 

Let us unite to conquer cancer.

Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, M.D., FACP, FASCO, President, American Society of Clinical Oncology, [email protected]

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