Exploring survivorship challenges

Kathy LaTour, CURE editor-at-large, is blogging from the 2010 Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference: Recovery and Beyond in Washington, D.C.The issues addressed on the second day of the 2010 Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference covered a wide range of issues, including approaches to cancer rehabilitation and recovery. The morning plenary and concurrent sessions covered everything from survivorship in women of color, the issues of young cancer survivors, and growth after treatment to health information technology, fertility, and outcome measurements. The researchers presenting represent the biggest and best cancer centers and academic settings in the country as well as the American Cancer Society, the CDC, LIVESTRONG, the NCI, and the National Institutes of Health. Their goals are to study these issues to provide the solid research that will translate into better lives for all of us. While many of their presentations are no-brainers to me as far as their importance, logic has nothing to do with science. There has to be a clinical study on the issue before any doctor will take it seriously – and any funder will provide the money to look at it in depth. For example, reduced BMI and recurrence has lots of observational evidence, but not until there is a large randomized trial will anyone look at it as a reality. In other words, insurance companies won't pay for any kind of program that helps lower BMI until they see that it will affect their bottom line. This makes the work of these researchers and those who fund them critical for our long-term health and well being.