Cancer Today Highlights Lessons in Survivorship

Every person who hears the words “you have cancer” has a unique story. As part of Cancer Today’s mission to provide “practical hope” and “real knowledge” to those who are affected by cancer, we strive to highlight those stories to provide a real-life glimpse into the challenges of treatment and what comes after.

As National Cancer Survivor Month comes to a close, we’d like to take an opportunity to reflect on some of the lessons we’ve learned from the cancer survivors who have shared their stories with Cancer Today, the magazine and online resource for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers, which is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

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Survivorship Issues Reshape a Researcher’s Career

When I started my postdoc at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in May 2016, I was thrilled to experience a truly comprehensive training in breast cancer. During my tenure, I decided to take advantage of opportunities offered to me outside of the lab to learn about cancer from every angle, including attending weekly breast tumor boards and presenting my work to the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates (GBCA).

I’ll never forget at the end of my presentation with GBCA, one of the advocates, Jamie, asked what the side effects were for a new treatment I was proposing. I was proud that I had done some research on this and confidently stated, “they are the same as tamoxifen,” a commonly used breast cancer treatment.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2019: Patients as Partners in the Research Process

In the past couple of decades, progress against cancer has created a new generation of survivors. Today, more than 16.9 million people in the United States are cancer survivors. While their experiences are incredibly diverse, many are living well. They work, they tend to their families, they travel … and many are inspired to play a role in the cancer research community.

The Presidential Select Symposium at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 addressed these crucial roles in a session titled “Engaging Cancer Patients as Partners in the Research Process.” The session was moderated by outgoing AACR President Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

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Cancer Survival: Improving Health After Treatment

At long last, cancer survival statistics are beginning to reveal real progress. From 1991 to 2015, the cancer death rate in the U.S. dropped by 26 percent, resulting in an estimated 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths. In 2016, more than 15.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive; that number is projected to exceed 20 million by 2026. The U.S. health care system faces a looming challenge: how to deal with the wide array of health and wellness aftereffects faced by children and adults who were once cancer patients.

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A Growing Commitment to Cancer Survivors

Thanks to decades of cancer research that have brought us groundbreaking discoveries and treatments, 15.5 million U.S. cancer survivors have more time to spend with their loved ones. That number is only going up, to an estimated 26.1 million by 2040.

For most of these survivors, their journey comes with complications and lasting side effects. Many continue to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional impact of their cancer diagnosis long after their final treatment. Thousands of survivors face financial challenges resulting from or made worse by their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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A New Device to Monitor Heart Dysfunction in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Anthracyclines, a widely used class of chemotherapeutics, work in several ways to kill rapidly dividing cells, including those found in a tumor. While these drugs are commonly used to treat many types of adult and childhood cancer, they have a detrimental side effect – cardiotoxicity.

The cardiotoxicity of anthracyclines is dose-dependent; the more exposure patients have to the drug, the more serious risk they carry for heart-related problems. This can represent a unique challenge in children treated with anthracyclines, whose hearts are still developing.

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Assessing Cancer Patients’ Tobacco Use: A New Tool Developed by the AACR and the National Cancer Institute

Researchers have well established that smoking leads to adverse outcomes in cancer patients; however, the specific effects caused by smoking and the use of other tobacco products remain poorly understood …

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