Cancer Survivorship: Embracing the Future:
On October 4-6, 2006, the Third Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference, Cancer Survivorship: Embracing the Future, co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), was convened to explore innovative research advances in the field of cancer survivorship.
In the last decade, survivorship research has been growing in prominence in the scientific cancer research agenda:
- In 2003, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed the policy implications of childhood cancer survivorship in its report, Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life.
- In the NCI's 2004 budget request, improving treatment outcomes for cancer survivors and their families was identified as a priority area for research.
- The President's Cancer Panel completed a series of cross-country meetings that explored the challenges experienced by survivors and their families in living beyond the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, culminating in their 2004 Annual Report, Living Beyond Cancer: Finding a New Balance, and its companion report, Living Beyond Cancer: A European Dialogue.
- The LAF joined forces with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lead a public health effort to address the issues faced by the growing number of cancer survivors. This collaboration, A National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship: Advancing Public Health Strategies, charts a course for the public health community to more effectively and comprehensively address cancer survivorship to improve the quality of life for survivors.
- Optimizing health and quality of life for cancer survivors and their families was identified as a research priority in the NCI's 2005 budget request.
- In 2005, the IOM released a second report on adult survivorship, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, which addresses the issues adult cancer survivors face post-treatment.
The advent of these and other exciting cancer survivorship-focused initiatives demonstrates the emergence of the field.
This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS), which was established by the NCI in recognition of the millions of individuals now surviving cancer for longer periods of time and their unique and poorly understood needs. Since its inception, the OCS has forged collaborations with ACS, the LAF, and other cancer organizations to sustain the momentum and advancement in cancer survivorship research.
Over 340 participants attended stimulating scientific presentations, participated in discussions focused on innovative research findings, and networked with multidisciplinary experts vested in the continued evolution of survivorship research. The 2.5 day conference included plenary talks, panel presentations, and breakout sessions relevant to the focus of the meeting. In addition, a poster session ensured time for open, informal discussion of meeting topics.
What were the conference goals?
Key aims of Cancer Survivorship: Embracing the Future included:
- Identifying future directions of cancer survivorship research
- Examining advances in e-health and communications
- Identifying challenges to follow-up care for cancer survivors
- Understanding and addressing the needs of cancer caregivers and
- Reviewing research and strategies to address health disparities in cancer survivorship
Cancer Survivorship: Embracing the Future brought together:
- Researchers in behavioral and biomedical science
- Health care professionals
- Federal scientists
- Graduate students in health-related sciences
- Community-based advocates
- State public health planners
- Cancer survivors and families