Cancer Voices – ASCO

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has the annual scientific conference every year in Chicago. This year too the meeting was held and I attended a session called ASCO Voices.

This featured a variety of personal narratives and perspectives to expand views of oncology, medicine, and the world — from big ideas to personal passions. These lightning talks offer a break from the science and an opportunity to reflect on personal stories and experiences.

The session was held in the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago. Each ASCO Voices presentation is 5 – 7 minutes. No podium and no slides; just a story and a stage. Brilliant talks. Worth listening to the sessions.

ASCO Voices Talk

Monica Morrow, MD, FASCO
Surgery Is Never Elegant When Women Are in the Operating Room

Yehoda M. Martei, MD, MSCE
Whose Breast is it Anyway? Breast Cancer and Sexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ashley Sumrall, MD, FACP
I Promised

Ishwaria Subbiah, MD MS
Doing Everything

Scott Capozza, MS, PT
The Obligation of the Cured

Cancer and Bucket Lists

What is a bucket list?

Defined as “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying”

I see a fair number of patients in the clinic – public and private. Most people, rightly so, want to start treatment and get on with things as soon as possible. One of my jobs is to help people understand the various treatment options available and the rationale of each option. This includes talking about the risk versus benefit, the toxicity of treatment and the improvement in survival.

All this sounds great on paper or when lecturing to students or junior doctors. In the real world, things can get very difficult.

Some people want absolutely everything done to prolong life, even if it means that they are miserable for the entire time. Other people want nothing done with regard to our treatment, as they pursue alternative therapies. Yet others, can’t decide what they want.

As the years go past, many of us learn the value of talking to people and understanding what they want. What are their wishes, their fears, their aims, their goals? What does the family want? What are the plans for vacations? Holidays? Time spent with loved one? Major events planned – weddings, waiting for a grandchild to be born, graduation ceremonies. The list goes on.

I am slowly learning the importance of listening to people. It means a lot to them. And (now) me.

Quora and Cancer

I ventured onto a website called Quora. Fascinating site. People ask questions about pretty much any topic in the world. There are people who try and answer the query. Over the past year or two, I started answering cancer related questions. It has been a fascinating journey. At times, it worries me about giving answers to people I have no idea about, their circumstances, their medical background, what their doctor has said to them, etc…. but over time I have learnt to be generic but specific.

It does not seem to be a second opinion, but a generic opinion. There are several doctors on the forum trying to help people from across the world.

The site is nice and simple. Most people can navigate it without too many problems.

My Quora link

Patient Guide for Cervical Cancer

This is taken from the ESMO website.

ESMO link

ESMO presents a new ESMO Patient Guide in Cervical Cancer. It is part of our Patient Guide Series, based on the ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines.

This new ESMO Patient Guide in Cervical Cancer offers essential new information compared to the previous edition:

ESMO Patient Guide on Cervical Cancer Cover
  • Information on HPV vaccination and the HPV DNA test
  • Information on the increasing use of CT, MRI and PET in disease staging
  • A section dedicated to the involvement of patients in decision making
  • A section focusing on the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
  • Treatment algorithms (adapted to be accessible to patients) for each disease stage
  • A section on fertility preservation
  • A section on cervical cancer and pregnancy
  • Information on new drugs (bevacizumab, pembrolizumab)
  • A section on supplementary interventions – supportive, palliative, survivorship and end-of-life care
  • Information on clinical trials, including immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Tables covering the important side effects of all systemic treatments
  • A new section on the importance of exercise
  • A new section dedicated to the long-term effects of treatment

The previous edition of this guide was translated into 10 languages through the kind support of national medical associations and patient advocacy organisations.

Translated versions will make it possible for even more patients to benefit from the updated and reliable information in this new guide.

We welcome support for the translation and dissemination of this new and updated version. To express interest in providing a translation, please contact us.

This guide has been developed and reviewed by:

Representatives of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO):
Nicoletta Colombo; Claire Bramley; Francesca Longo; Jean-Yves Douillard; and Svetlana Jezdic.

Representatives of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS):
Anita Margulies; Lise Bjerrum Thisted

Patient advocate:
Maria Holtet Rüsz