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Research findings by Ethan Basch, MD, MSc, and Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, were cited as being among the most impactful advances and policy developments in cancer in 2017.

(Left to right) Ethan Basch, MD, MSc, and Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH

The American Society of Clinical Oncology highlighted studies by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Ethan Basch, MD, MSc, and Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, in its current annual report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2018: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer.

Basch published outcomes from his study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that cancer patients who reported their symptoms to their cancer care providers using a web-based survey lived longer than those patients who did not. This was the first study to identify a survival benefit for patient reported outcomes.

“This study demonstrated that if we can change one of the simple processes in how we administer care, we can potentially benefit more patients by identifying and responding more quickly to health issues before they worsen over time can alleviate suffering, potentially lower health care costs, and help people live longer,” said Basch, who is the director of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Outcomes Research Program and a professor at the UNC School of Medicine.

Chen reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association findings from his study that examined quality-of-life outcomes for the four most common modern prostate cancer treatment choices most patients will face, including active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation treatment, and brachytherapy. Chen’s study identified distinct patterns of side effects that patients could use to guide their treatment choices.

“Patients diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer – and that’s the vast majority of patients with this disease – face many treatment options that are thought to be similarly efficacious,” said Chen, an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology and UNC Lineberger’s associate director of education. “Therefore, the quality-of-life differences among these options become an important consideration when patients are trying to make their decisions.”

ASCO published Clinical Cancer Advances 2018 to highlight the most impactful research advances and policy developments of the past year and previews where cancer science is headed. The report, which is available online, was developed under the direction a 20-person editorial board of experts in different oncology subspecialties, as well as cancer prevention, quality of care, health disparities, and tumor biology.