SWOG Cancer Research Network shines at ASCO Quality of Care Symposium



Credit: SWOG Cancer Research Network

Researchers from SWOG Cancer Research Network, a cancer clinical trials group funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, will make five presentations as part of the 2020 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, a virtual program of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) which runs October 9 and 10.

SWOG Vice Chair Dawn Hershman, MD, director of the Breast Cancer Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, serves as chair of the program, and shaped the scientific and educational vision for the symposium. The COVID-19 pandemic, she says, plays prominently in this year’s session.

“We’ll explore issues and innovations related to the coronavirus and its implications for cancer care, including health disparities, telemedicine, and quality and safety improvements,” Hershman said. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons in cancer care in the past six months, and the symposium is a great forum for sharing them.”

The symposium will feature 275 poster presentations divided into five tracks:

  • Cost, Value, and Policy
  • Health Equity and Disparities
  • Patient Experience
  • Quality, Safety, and Implementation Science and
  • Technology and Innovation in Quality of Care

The symposium features general sessions that include “Quality Care in the Time of COVID-19: New Innovations and Lessons Learned” and “Bridging the Distance: Leveraging Telehealth to Deliver Cancer Care.” Brian Golden, PhD, the Sandra Rotman Chair in Health Sector Strategy at the University of Toronto, will deliver the keynote address, titled “Transforming Healthcare Organizations: A Primer on Leading Change.”

Veena Shankaran, MD, MS, a SWOG investigator and co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes (HICOR) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will deliver an oral presentation that shares, for the first time, primary results of her SWOG trial, S1417CD, the first prospective, multicenter study of financial toxicity in the U.S. The primary goal of S1417CD is to determine how often patients with metastatic colorectal cancer experience financial hardship over the course of their treatment. Shankaran’s presentation is part of Oral Abstract Session A, to begin Oct. 9 at 10:15 a.m. PT.

Other SWOG presentations at 2020 ASCO Quality Care Symposium include:

  • Joseph Unger, PhD, a SWOG biostatistician and health services researcher at Fred Hutch, presents findings from a meta-analysis of patient participation in clinical trials. Findings are surprising: More than half of all cancer patients offered a clinical trial agree to participate; results are consistent for both Black and white patients. These finding upend several beliefs about cancer trial participation, including that Black patients are less likely to enroll if a trial is offered. Unger’s presentation is part of Rapid Abstract Session C: Understanding Barriers to Clinical Trial Participation and Treatment Selection, to begin Oct. 10 at 8:15 a.m. PT. Results will be published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET.
  • David B. Feldman, PhD, a member of SWOG’s new palliative and end of life care committee and professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University, presents results from a hopefulness survey of 226 SWOG members that explores the relationship between hope, job stress, and burnout. Feldman’s presentation is part of Rapid Abstract Session B: Access and Outcomes, to begin Oct. 9 at 11:15 a.m. PT.
  • Julia Mo, BS, a member of SWOG’s palliative and end of life care committee and a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, presents results of an analysis of four SWOG treatment trials that shows that patients with clinically significant fatigue experienced significantly lower quality of life and more adverse events, and had poorer survival compared to participants without fatigue. Mo’s presentation is part of Rapid Abstract Session B: Access and Outcomes, to begin Oct. 9 at 11:15 a.m. PT.
  • Riha Vaidya, PhD, a staff scientist for SWOG’s cancer control committees based at Fred Hutch, presents results of a study showing an increasing trend in obesity among patients participating in clinical trials for obesity-related cancers, mirroring the rise in U.S. adult obesity rates from the 1980s to 2018. Vaidya’s presentation is part of the On Demand Poster Sessions: Health Equity and Disparities, to kick off Oct. 9 at 5:00 a.m. PT.


SWOG Cancer Research Network is part of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, and is part of the oldest and largest publicly-funded cancer research network in the nation. SWOG has nearly 12,000 members in 47 states and eight foreign countries who design and conduct clinical trials to improve the lives of people with cancer. SWOG trials have led to the approval of 14 cancer drugs, changed more than 100 standards of cancer care, and saved more than 3 million years of human life. Learn more at swog.org.

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