ASCO Highlights Cancer Prevention Initiatives In Advance Of National Cancer Prevention Month

January 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment


National Cancer Prevention Month kicks off February 1, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is highlighting the oncologist’s role in cancer prevention and in assessing a person’s risk of getting cancer in a new policy statement published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) this month.




“Oncologists are increasingly being asked about cancer risk assessment and prevention strategies by our patients,” said Richard L. Schilsky, MD, ASCO president and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Oncologists are uniquely poised to guide patients and family members through the complicated issues of assessing and reducing their cancer risk.”




Oncologists’ expertise in evaluating cancer prevention and early detection tools, and in integrating these findings into standard clinical practice, can help patients reduce their risk of cancer or cancer recurrence, according to the policy statement. ASCO’s policy statement outlines several risk assessment and prevention activities that should fall under the purview of oncologists, including:




– Assessing cancer risk for people who may be genetically predisposed to certain cancers. ASCO’s policy statement notes that oncologists are well positioned to identify these individuals.




– Working with patients to identify and modify behaviors that have been found to substantially contribute to cancer-related deaths. Quitting smoking is the primary behavior modification that patients should undertake to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, particularly lung cancer, and counseling about cessation is an essential tool to help patients quit.




– Providing counseling on other prevention activities, such as proper diet, physical exercise, weight control, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation.




“Oncologists also can play a key role by collaborating with and educating our primary care colleagues and local hospitals and cancer centers regarding delivery of prevention care services,” said Robin Zon, MD, FACP, a practicing oncologist at Michiana Hematology-Oncology in South Bend, Ind., and lead author of the ASCO policy statement.




ASCO’s Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) also featured a series of articles addressing cancer prevention, including tobacco cessation and genetic nondiscrimination issues, in its January 2009 issue. Articles highlight:




– A clinical study, “Smoking Behaviors among Cancer Survivors,” finds that only 44% of smoking cancer patients quit smoking after their diagnosis, and only 62% of smoking cancer patients received smoking cessation counseling from their physicians. Intervention programs are needed to help cancer survivors quit smoking.




– Smoking rates for pediatric cancer survivors are comparable to or only slightly lower than the smoking rate of their peers who have not had cancer. A survey of pediatric cancer survivors shows that an adolescent’s perceived vulnerability to tobacco-related health risks and intentions for future use can be modified with risk-counseling intervention.




– While smoking rates are declining in the United States, globally tobacco is responsible for one in three cancer-related deaths. Worldwide tobacco use is increasingly driven in part by population growth and economic development in Asia and Africa. But because cancers caused by smoking take several decades to develop, it will be many years before the full effects are felt.




ASCO’s patient information Web site, Cancer.Net, is newly updated and contains more information on tobacco use and quitting smoking, at http://www.cancer.net/tobacco. Resources include expert podcasts, “stop smoking” tips, new articles published in medical journals addressing the risks of smoking, and information on the health risks of secondhand smoke, particularly for children.




The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 27,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. For ASCO information and resources, visit http://www.asco.org/presscenter. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at http://www.cancer.net.



American Society of Clinical Oncology

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]

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