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From the Editors

TOP - November 2019, Vol 12, No 4
Patrick J. Medina, PharmD, BCOP
Medical Science Liaison
Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline
Collegeville, PA
Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy
University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy
Steven Stricker, PharmD, MS, BCOP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Samford University
Birmingham, AL
The November issue of The Oncology Pharmacist features important news and insights for today’s oncology pharmacists. We start off our coverage with recently published findings from a clinical trial demonstrating the potential benefit of circulating DNA sequencing in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cholangiocarcinoma, a disease that is typically detected at a late stage.

“Our data are encouraging for the estimation of the individual tumor load and the expected prognosis, which also might influence treatment decisions,” noted the study’s lead investigator, Thomas J. Ettrich, MD, Head, Outpatient Clinic and Clinical Trial Office in GI-Oncology, Ulm University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, Germany, and colleagues.

We also feature highlights from national and international meetings, including the 2019 ASCO Quality Care Symposium and the 2019 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology annual meeting.

In a noteworthy presentation at the 2019 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Cary P. Gross, MD, Director, Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, discussed the critical importance of incorporating the patient perspective in clinical pathways, which may hold the promise of delivering truly personalized medicine while improving value-based care and clinical outcomes.

“It’s still the Wild West out there in terms of treatment. Patients aren’t really impressed that there are 44 different treatment options they can receive. They want to know what’s best for them, which is why we need these pathways,” he explained.

In a separate presentation at the symposium, Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD, Director, Office of Cancer Health Equity, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center, Winston-Salem, NC, addressed the topic of disparities in cancer care that affect survival, cancer-related mortality, incidence, prevalence, and adverse health conditions.

“Before patients even walk into your office, they have all the other influencers in their environment that can impact their health and their outcomes, including economic stability, education, community and social context, and diet,” she said. “That’s why Medicaid and uninsured people don’t often see the same benefit. There’s this whole other world.”

At the 2019 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology annual meeting, Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, CAS, MS, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Helpsy Health, San Francisco, CA, explained how technology can play an important role in keeping patients with cancer engaged in their own healthcare.

“It’s serving the purpose that it was meant to serve, which is to connect people in meaningful ways to address their needs,” she said. “And now this technology is beyond the prototype stage. It’s scalable, it’s mature, it’s reliable, and it’s being reimbursed by CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services].”

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