Decades of progress in revolutionary oncological research and innovative medical treatments has yielded a steady drop in cancer mortality rates in the United States over the last 25 years. But daunting hurdles still remain for the pioneers who aim to eradicate the disease.
On June 18, The Washington Post brought together the nation’s leading health policymakers, top doctors and researchers for a live event examining the latest developments in cancer prevention, detection and treatment. We addressed topics such as the government’s drug approval policies and breakthroughs in pediatric oncology, and heard inspiring stories from cancer survivors and the loved ones who support them.
Childhood Cancer Crusade: A Spotlight on Pediatric Cancer Policy
During this year's State of the Union address, President Trump called on Congress to allot $500 million towards pediatric cancer research over the next 10 years. Sen. Jack Reed, who has written law on where the money should go regarding childhood cancer, share his assessment of the President's plan.
Inside the FDA: The New Commissioner’s Game Plan
The Acting FDA Commissioner lays out his agenda for approving life-saving cancer drugs, innovative therapies and clinical trials. and managing product safety. He will also discuss drug pricing, disparities in access to care and the most exciting breakthroughs in cancer prevention, detection and treatment.
Ned Sharpless, M.D.
Acting Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., became Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs on the afternoon of April 5, 2019. Previously, he was confirmed as the 15th director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on October 17, 2017. Prior to his NCI appointment, Dr. Sharpless served as the director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, a position he held since January 2014.
Interviewed by Laurie McGinley
Health and Medicine Reporter, The Washington Post
Sen. Jack Reed
In 1996, Jack Reed was elected as Rhode Island's 46th United States Senator. Reed works every day to help make the federal government more efficient, effective, and responsive to the people of Rhode Island. Reed has authored a trio of laws to improve children’s health care and ensure our youngest patients get the help they need when they need it: the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act, a law that expands research programs aimed at improving childhood cancer treatments with the goal of ultimately finding a cure for childhood cancer; the Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act to establish critical care networks nationwide so that more paramedics and first responders can get trauma care patients to the right doctor at the right time; and the Better Pharmaceuticals and Devices for Children Act (BPDCA) to help ensure drugs and medical devices are specifically tested, labeled, and proven to be safe and effective for children.
Interviewed by Paige Winfield Cunningham
Health Policy Reporter and Author of The Health 202 newsletter, The Washington Post
Cancer Chronicles: Finding Light In Life’s Dark Moments
She was diagnosed with incurable cancer at 35. He is the father of a toddler going through chemo. Together, they’re a powerhouse of wisdom and unshakable strength. Acclaimed writers Kate Bowler and Wajahat Ali examine how cancer has shaped their lives as parents and people of faith.
Contributing Opinion Writer, The New York Times
Wajahat Ali is a playwright, lawyer and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.
Kate Bowler, PhD
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity in North America, Duke Divinity School
Kate Bowler, PhD, is an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School. She wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) (Random House, 2018) after being unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35—a book Bill Gates lauds as “belonging on the shelf alongside other terrific books about mortality” and includes on his must-read list. Dr. Bowler subsequently staged a national conversation around why it felt so difficult to speak frankly about suffering through her popular podcast, Everything Happens. She has appeared on NPR, The TODAY Show, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine.
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Actor, "Not on My Watch" Ambassador
Scott Foley is a recognized television, film and Broadway actor, with credits including ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier and hit drama Scandal, critically-acclaimed WB series Felicity, and Wes Craven’s Scream 3. Scott has also written, directed and produced a movie titled Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife. What many do not know is that one of Scott’s biggest roles happened off-screen and at an early age, when he acted as a secondary caregiver to his mother during her time with recurrent ovarian cancer. Scott helped his mom through multiple recurrences for four years before losing her to the devastating disease when he was 15. To help get the word out, Scott has partnered with TESARO, an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, on "Not on My Watch," a nationwide movement that seeks to inform and empower women with recurrent ovarian cancer and their care partners to take proactive steps in managing the disease, like talking to their healthcare provider about maintenance therapy.
Robin Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation (SROCF)
Robin Cohen is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, the Society of Gynecologic Nurse Oncologists and the Cambridge Who’s Who. She has been recognized as one of the 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians and is the 2016 recipient of the Cindy Melancon Leadership Award. She has served on the board of directors of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and is now the Vice President of the Board of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. Robin is also a board member of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition.