Top 5 advances in Oncology… what’s your vote?

Undoubtedly the practice of palliative care has radically changed and continues to be influenced by the development and use of new, biological agents in cancer. Medscape has surveyed health care professional for their views on the top 5 advances in Oncology in the last 50 years. Can you guess? Do you agree with their choices? The below is taken from

As part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the society prepared a list the most significant clinical cancer advances in a Major Milestones Timeline. It then invited physicians, patients, and the public to vote for what they considered to be the top 5 advances in the last 50 years. The votes are now in, and ASCO has revealed what it describes as the “Top 5 Advances in Modern Oncology.”

  1. Chemotherapy cures advanced Hodgkin lymphoma. In 1965 the discovery of MOPP “sparked the first hope that advanced cancers could be cured with drug treatment, and paved the way for 90% cure rates for patients with this disease today.”
  2. HPV vaccine approved to prevent cervical cancer In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, which protects against the two strains of HPV (16 and 18) known to cause 70% of cervical cancers,
  1. Targeted drug transforms treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia In 2001, the rapid FDA review and approval of imatinib (Gleevec) dramatically changed the treatment of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
  1. Chemotherapy cures men with testicular cancer In 1977 came the pivotal trial showing that the 3-drug chemotherapy regimen known as PVB (cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin) produced complete remissions and some cures for more than 70% of men with advanced testicular cancer.
  1. Powerful antinausea drugs dramatically improve many patients’ quality of life ― In 1991, the FDA approval of the antinausea drug ondansetron (Zofran), as well as other supportive-care drugs in the following years, have together dramatically changed the experience of cancer treatment, bringing unprecedented improvements to patients’ quality of life, ASCO comments.

Could we come up with ideas for the top 5 advances in palliative care in the last 50 years? – recognition of palliative care as a specialty? – consultation teams in acute hospitals? – impact of “patient centred care”?

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