Cancer As Chronic Disease

Courtesy of Flicker user Mel B (creative commons)

Courtesy of Flicker user Mel B (creative commons)

from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando

It’s a rare treat for the lone medical reporter to get together with others of our kind.  I had dinner tonight with the other EGMN reporters and editors covering ASCO.  We can’t help ourselves and we mostly talk shop.  There was a lot of great discussion.

My oncology mentor and editor of The Oncology Report, Jane MacNeil, brought up the idea of cancer as a chronic disease.  The idea was pretty thought changing for me.  I’ve been covering oncology for 3 years now and cut my teeth on patient/survivor care stories. The topic is still an important one to me.

Still, all of this time, as I’ve been thinking about the issues and problems of who cares for cancer survivors—some types of cancers with increasingly long survival—-it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be possible to start to think about cancer as a chronic disease.  I admit that for some types of cancers, the idea seems laughable but for other types…well, it seems kind of plausible.

So, I put it out there to all of you ASCO folks: can or will we start thinking of cancer as a chronic disease that is managed?

Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to some of my new Twitter friends that I found through #ASCO: @drsteventucker, @djsampson, @amarantoblook, @MaverickNY, @PharmacistScott, and of course my good buddy @MedReporter.

—Kerri Wachter (on Twitter: @knwachter)

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