In 2004, the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship and the American Cancer Society co-sponsored the second biennial cancer survivorship research conference, ‘Pathways to Health after Treatment.’ In collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, the Lance Armstrong Foundation funded a companion Survivor-Researcher Mentor Program for self-identified cancer advocates. The purpose of this program was to bring the cancer advocacy and research communities together to discuss and mutually inform one another about the state of cancer survivorship. Through a competitive application process, 20 cancer advocates throughout the United States were selected as program participants. Read more about the program.
One major outcome of the Survivor-Researcher Mentor program was the “Hot Topic” paper assignment. Each participant in the mentor program was asked to write a short paper highlighting, in lay terms, one of the “hot scientific topics” presented at the Conference. The intent of these papers was to give program participants the opportunity to voice their personal perspectives on what they learned at the conference and describe the impact of survivorship research on the lives of survivors and their families. These papers were not intended to be scientific in nature, but rather to reflect the participant’s own viewpoints on key issues addressed at the conference. For a scientific summary of conference highlights, link to https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/resources/pathways/summary.html.
We thank the 20 program participants for their active participation in the conference and their dedication to and enthusiasm for presenting their personal reflection papers. Survivorship is a universal issue across cancer sites. The Survivor-Researcher Mentor program participants represented a diversity of cancer organizations. The author of each paper and a link to their affiliated organization is provided (when possible) to facilitate networking opportunities among groups or individuals interested in learning more about cancer survivorship.
We welcome the opportunity to present the unique perspectives of the advocates who participated in this program. The desire to understand and promote the health and well-being of cancer survivors and their families is the main impetus behind the biennial cancer survivorship research conference. This year’s participants were an extraordinary example of individuals committed to this goal. We are proud to present this collection of papers illuminating the perspectives of individuals whose lives are directly touched by the experience of cancer.
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