On June 17-18, 2004, the Second Biennial Cancer Survivorship research conference, ‘Cancer Survivorship: Pathways to Health after Treatment’ co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) was convened. Over the past two years survivorship research has been one of the areas at the forefront of the scientific research agenda in cancer, such initiatives include:
- The National Cancer Institute's 2004 budget request identified improving the treatment outcomes for cancer survivors and their families as a priority area for research.
- In 2003 the Institute of Medicine reviewed the policy implications of cancer survivorship in its report,‘Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life.’ A second report on adult survivorship is due to be released in late 2004.
- The President’s Cancer Panel is in the process of completing a series of cross-country meetings that explore the challenges experienced by survivors and their families in living beyond the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The advent of these and other exciting cancer survivorship focused initiatives demonstrates the emergence of the field. The collaboration between the NCI and ACS was forged to sustain the momentum and advancement in cancer survivorship research. Conference participants were invited to engage in discussions focused on innovative research findings, and network with multidisciplinary experts vested in the continued evolution of survivorship research.
Key aims of the conference included the review, examination, and identification of:
- the long-term and late effects of cancer and its treatment;
- populations at greatest risk for these effects;
- interventions, behaviors and surveillance efforts designed to improve health outcomes and well-being of survivors; and
- strategies and resources to support the need for and lead to the implementation of change at the research, clinical, and policy levels.
Participants included researchers across multidisciplinary fields, healthcare professionals, federal scientists, graduate students in health-related sciences, community-based advocates, state public health planners, and cancer survivors and their families.