The recent announcement by Vice President Joseph Biden of a cancer cures “moonshot” has brought renewed attention to the goals of 21st-century cancer care. Not since the late President Nixon’s declaration of War on Cancer has so much focus been directed toward the experiences of the 1.66 million persons diagnosed with cancer annually in the United States.1 The framing of this initiative is focused on accelerating scientific progress against cancer as a disease, with little attention to equity2 or to the experience of those living with cancer and its consequences. As billions of dollars are invested in seeking the cure for cancer, attention to the quality of life of people living with cancer and the effect of cancer treatment are at least as important to address and far more achievable in the near term.
Arif H. Kamal, Thomas W. LeBlanc, Diane E. Meier. Better Palliative Care for AllImproving the Lived Experience With Cancer. JAMA. 2016;316(1):29–30. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6491