Shining a Spotlight on What Lies in the Shadows of Cancer


From a rare malignancy to sexual dysfunction, this special issue explores some of the less talked about aspects of cancer.

A spotlight draws attention to a particular area, person or thing.
When something is illuminated by a spotlight, it often takes center stage. People talk about it endlessly, and news about that particular area, person or thing spreads until it reaches the masses.

In cancer, that spotlight regularly shines on diseases that are the most commonly diagnosed — colon, lung and breast cancer, for example. More- over, side effects such as nausea, fatigue and hair loss are primarily discussed.

There are, however, certain aspects of cancer that don’t get enough recognition and are hidden in the shadows.

In this seasonal issue of CURE®, we shift the spotlight to a disease that is not frequently highlighted and a treatment side effect that, according to an expert, has been routinely ignored.

Dr. William Tseng, a sarcoma surgical oncologist at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, writes that there must be a conscious effort to increase public awareness of sarcoma. A rare cancer of the soft tissues and bone, sarcoma is diagnosed in fewer than 20,000 people in the United States each year. Tseng explains that although this is at least twentyfold fewer than breast cancer diagnoses, the disease should no longer be in the public health shadows of the more common cancers.

“Sarcoma occurs in the rich and the poor, irrespective of access to health care and regardless of gender or race,” he writes.

Also in this issue is an analysis of findings from the Sexual Health Assessment in Women With Lung Cancer (SHAWL) study. It demonstrated that three out of four women with the disease reported experiencing moderate to severe sexual dysfunction.

In an interview with CURE®, lead SHAWL study author Dr. Narjust Florez (Duma) explains that providers don’t always perceive sexual health and dysfunction as priorities for their patients.

However, she notes that many of the women included in the study reported wanting information to improve their sexual health. Additionally, she lets patients know that they are not alone.

“Sexual dysfunction is not a price that patients (with lung cancer) need
to pay in order to be alive,” she says. “I hear this over and over in my clinic, ‘I thought that was the price I needed to pay.’ And that’s not true.”

As always, we hope you find our stories inspirational and informative. Thank you for reading.


President & CEO


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