Rochester Hosts National Conference on Cancer Survivorship

May 16, 2007

"We have to better understand the health issues and needs that more than 10 million survivors face every day."

The University of Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center is leading a national effort to improve the quality of life for the more than a million people who’ve survived cancer and moved on with life.  Scientists and oncologists from throughout the country will gather for the Cancer Survivorship Research and Education scientific workshop Thursday and Friday at the Memorial Art Gallery.

The conference will focus on research to improve treatments, minimize long-term side effects and improve the quality of life of people who have completed treatment.  A key part of the summit will be creation of the Consortium of Cancer Survivor Research and Education, involving leaders of radiation, medical, and pediatric oncology from major cancer centers across the nation. The consortium will investigate health-related outcomes and provide guidelines for the long-term care of adult cancer survivors.

“This is an important topic for discussion and research because with advances in treatments, we’re seeing more than 70 percent of patients survive now.  We have to better understand the health issues and needs that more than 10 million survivors face every day,” said Philip Rubin, M.D., an international expert and professor emeritus of Radiation Oncology.  Rubin and colleagues Louis “Sandy” Constine, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology, Paul Okunieff, M.D., Chair of Radiation Oncology and Lawrence Marks, M.D., of Duke University, are leading this effort.

Approximately 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in the United States this year. As more people than ever survive cancer and live longer, there has been significant effort to study ways to improve their quality of life and provide support for them.

Working with the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Survivorship, Rubin and Constine will build the program at the Wilmot Cancer Center and further collaboration with other academic institutions and cancer centers, such as University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, Duke University, University of Pittsburgh and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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