Society News

MASCC Society News - May Issue

May 2020     

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Message from the President, Rajesh Lalla, DDS, PhD

Dear Colleagues,

As I write this message on the last Sunday in April, the world is still struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us have never seen anything like the events of the past few months. But history is replete with numerous plagues and epidemics that have struck the human race. These range as far back as the “Black Death” that killed 50 million in Europe in the 14th century and are as recent as the more limited SARS outbreak in 2002-2004.

I am currently reading the book called “The Plague” by the French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. This book was first published in French as “La Peste” in 1948. Although this is a work of fiction, it is striking to me how many of the themes we are encountering today are described in this book. These themes include a pathogen that jumps from animals to humans, fear born out of ignorance about the disease, lack of an effective cure, locking down a whole city, quarantining the sick and their contacts, flattening the curve, and the heroism of healthcare workers and volunteers. The central character, a physician named Dr. Rieux, goes to great lengths to alleviate human suffering, at high personal risk. “The only means of fighting a plague is decency” he states. When asked what decency means he says “In general, I can’t say, but in my case I know it consists in doing my job.” Just like Dr. Rieux, healthcare providers around the world are stepping up to do their duty and so much more, despite the risk. Thank you to all of you who are working to help your patients through this pandemic.

I leave you with another quote from this thought-provoking book: “There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.” Indeed, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.


MASCC Announces Results for 2020 – 2022
Board of Directors Election

MASCC is pleased to announce the results of the recent election for the 2020 – 2022 MASCC Board. The following candidates were elected by the MASCC membership for a 2-year term, which will begin at an online Board meeting being planned for June 2020 (board members are listed in alphabetical order):

  • Boltong, Anna - Anna is the General Manager, Strategy and Business Development, St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Bowen, Joanne - Joanne is an Associate Professor of Physiology, University of Adelaide in Adelaide, South Australia.
  • Elad, Sharon – Sharon is Professor and Chair in the Division of Oral Medicine and Principal Consultant in Hospital Dentistry at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. 
  • Fernández-Ortega, Paz – Paz is Nursing Research Coordinator at Institute Català d’Oncologia- Barcelona; Associate Professor at University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. 
  • Hui, David – David is Associate Professor of Palliative Care and Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. 
  • Lustberg, Maryam – Maryam is the Medical Director of Supportive Care at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio. 
  • Ripamonti, Carla - Carla specializes in Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology. She is currently Head, Oncology - Supportive Care Unit, Department of Onco-Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS, Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milano, Italy.
  • Scotté, Florian - Florian heads the Interdisciplinary Cancer Course Department at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Villejuif, France.
  • Young, Annie - Annie is Emerita Professor of Nursing at Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire, UK. 
  • Zimmermann, Camilla – Camilla is the Head of the Department of Supportive Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. 

In addition to the above, the 2020-2022 MASCC Board will also include the MASCC President, Immediate Past President, Journal Editor-in-Chief, Executive Director, Study Group Coordinator, Emeritus Director and the ISOO representative.

Information Sources Related to COVID-19

To aid our members during this difficult and uncertain time, MASCC is sharing links to COVID-19 related information, including management of oncology patients. Our website will be updated as new resources are released or shared with us. The resources listed are intended to guide members to information most useful to them.

Categories include: groups with an oncology focus, general information for healthcare professionals, and scientific journals. 

Members are encouraged to share relevant links. Send suggestions to Angela Perez at [email protected].

Supportive Cancer Care and COVID-19: Experiences from a MASCC Member on the Front Lines in Mumbai, India

With the rapidly changing and evolving practice in managing COVID-19, MASCC is honored to begin a series of articles sharing our members’ professional experiences during the current crisis.  This month, we feature Sameena Bilgi, MA, Head of Patient Guidance Program, from the Gunvati Jagan Nath Kapoor Foundation in Mumbai, India.  The foundation provides guidance and psychosocial services to patients in Mumbai-Maharashtra and Amritsar-Punjab.

The densely populated city of Mumbai, with approximately 25 million residents, is the epicenter of western India.  As of press time, news reports indicated Mumbai has over 3,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 139 deaths, the highest mortality rate in the country.  Maharashtra, the state where Mumbai is located, reports a total of 4666 with 232 deaths. 

During her interview, Bilgi said, “In the wake of this humanitarian outcry, it is imperative to address the unmet needs and concerns of cancer patients and caregivers. We must also provide a helping hand to the health care system fighting day in day out against cancer and COVID 19.”

In the past month, Bilgi’s team of 12 patient guidance coordinators have reached out to approximately 7000 patients. They have educated, guided and connected the patients and caregivers to manage their healthcare crisis during this pandemic. Here is her story. Read more.

The Psychosocial Study Group – a profile during the time of COVID-19

With so little to be sure of

If there's anything at all

I'm sure of here and now and us together

       - Steven Sondheim

As I write these words, there are 3 million cases of COVID-19 infections around the world and every MASCC member has been directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic. Labs have closed, elective surgical lists were stopped, and work from home began as did home schooling of children. Cancer work never really stops, not even in the time of the pandemic.  That work evolves rapidly and the pandemic has presented us, the cancer clinicians and researchers, with urgent and significant challenges. And with many questions: “How do we deliver care safely?” “Whose treatment is no longer safe?” “What research can continue and how?”

You might wonder what a profile of the MASCC Psychosocial Study Group has to do with COVID-19. Everything. 
Read more.

Bogda Koczwara, AM, BM, BS, FRACP, MBioethics, FAICD, is the Vice-Chair of the Psychosocial Issues Study Group.
Lidia Schapira, MD, serves as Chair.

Call for Annual Meeting Chair

Applications due May 12, 2020

MASCC is searching for an Annual Meeting Chair (AMC).  This exciting voluntary senior leadership position is your opportunity to network internationally and serve the greater cause of expanding supportive cancer care. The AMC has overall responsibility for working in cooperation with the Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) on all aspects of MASCC’s annual meeting organization.

For this role, MASCC asks that you bring your leadership, energy, and expertise to the table for a unique experience.  The AMC will be someone who has demonstrated strong support for MASCC over the years.  The term is ideally for two meetings - June 2022 in Toronto and June 2024, location to be determined.

Benefits of service include appointment as a voting member of the MASCC Board of Directors and paid travel and accommodation for related meetings. You will also receive assistance from a paid Meeting Administrator in consultation with the MASCC Executive Director of up to 16 hours per week.

The time commitment varies depending on meeting deadlines and timing in relation to the annual meeting. If you can contribute your time and thoughtfulness for approximately 4-10 hours per week, and are interested in exploring this opportunity, click here to learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of serving as AMC. 

For more details and to apply, click here.

Follow-up on 2020 MASCC/ISOO Annual Meeting Postponed to June 24-26, 2021

As mentioned in the April newsletter, COVID-19 presented challenges to deliver the MASCC/ISOO Annual Meeting safely, with the only responsible course of action to postpone to June 24-26, 2021 in the same location - Seville, Spain. We have asked members who planned to attend to please change or cancel any travel or hotel arrangements you have made independently. If you have not done so, please remember to do so as soon as possible as most airlines are currently waiving change fees and providing a full credit for tickets that normally do not allow changes.

We intend to keep the program and all accepted oral presentations. Accepted abstracts will be carried over and honored for the June 2021 meeting.  The three meeting themes of critical importance in supportive cancer care that were originally planned for the 2020 meeting will also be carried over to the 2021 meeting.  These themes include: models of supportive care, cardio-oncology, and bioethics. There will also be sessions featuring digital health, palliative care, and cancer survivorship, as well as sessions reflecting the interests of MASCC/ISOO Study Groups.

Postponing the conference was a difficult decision. MASCC recognizes that the research and industry innovations presented at this conference ensure that attendees remain on the leading edge of supportive cancer care.  Be assured we will be fully prepared to welcome you in 2021!

MASCC Celebrates Year of the Nurse and Florence Nightingale’s Birthday, May 12, 1820: Offers 50% Discount to Nurse Members

MASCC is offering a 50% discount on membership dues to all nurses, both renewing members and nurses who become new members in 2020. This year-long program honors the World Health Organization’s (WHO) designation of 2020 as “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of Florence Nightingale and her 200th anniversary. She was born May 12, 1820 and is considered the founder of modern nursing. Current MASCC members are also encouraged to invite their colleagues, students, and trainees to join them as MASCC members.
Read more.

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Cancer Survivorship at Stanford University

Stanford University is seeking to recruit a highly motivated individual with a doctoral degree in psychology (e.g., clinical, counseling, social, educational), epidemiology, public health, medicine, nursing, or a related social science field with an interest in developing expertise in conducting cancer-related behavioral intervention trials. Individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups are encouraged to apply. Prior research experience or training in behavioral sleep medicine is a plus, but is not essential.  A major focus of the lab is to understand the association between sleep and cancer treatment outcomes. The successful candidate will work as a member of a large, multi-site research team that will evaluate the impact of a behavioral intervention on sleep and be involved in studies evaluating neurocognitive impairment in cancer patients.

This is an open, fully-funded postdoctoral position. Start date for the fellowship is flexible, but ideally would occur by September 1, 2020. [Note: due to the unprecedented challenges related to COVID-19, there will be flexibility with the start date.] The appointment is for one year with the possibility of a 1-2-year extension based on performance and the needs of the lab.

For more information, click here.

Upcoming Conferences

Note: Rescheduling and cancellations occur frequently due to COVID-19. Please double check conference home pages for latest updates.

August 21-22, 2020
RESCHEDULED TO August 20 -21, 2021
Third Sapporo Conference for Palliative and Supportive Care in Cancer
Sapporo, Japan

September 14-15, 2020
35th International Conference on Oncology Nursing and Cancer Care
Current Challenges and Possibilities
Tokyo, Japan

September 18-22, 2020
ESMO 2020 Congress
Madrid, Spain

October 16-18, 2020
17th International Conference on Integrative Oncology
The Science of Living Well with Cancer
Baltimore, Maryland

Connect With Us!


For the latest updates on the 2021 MASCC/ISOO Annual Meeting, see the Annual Meeting Website.

New MASCC Members

A warm welcome to the new members who joined us in March 2020!

Kate Furness
Vivien Heng

Luciana Simonato
Paulo Pizao

John Wiernikowski
Thao Ngo

Agnès Brunelet
Anne Charlon d'Auriac
Geneviève Dael
Antonia Altmeyer
Mireille Armand
Audrey Garibbo-Sarkissian
Marie Dominique Augustin
Blandine David
Capucine Aelbrecht-Meurisse
Cécile Bartolini-Grosjean
Céline Le Bivic
Carine Cheron
Gaelle Saintomer
Clémence Duvernois
Philippe Colombat
Catherine Sinclair
Catherine Truong
Martine Gardembas
Sandrine Mahe
Maïlis Leroy
Elise Deluche
Evelyne Veschambre
Frederique Moreau
Fabien Rohrbacher
Fadila Julie Farsi
Fanny Grandjean
Patrick Carre
Isabelle Rey-Correard
Isabelle Senemaud isabelle
Jean François Marambaud
Jocelyne Rolland
Karine Repnau
Laure Vauthier
Laure Youinou
Hélène Locatelli
Magali Marchet
Martine Gardembas
Sandrine Mahe
Maïlis Leroy
Sandrine Marlier
Messaline Bouquet
Kristine Morese
Myriam Bakhoury
Nathalie Dubosc Marchenay
Olivier Collard
Caroline Stephan
Pascale Oriol
Pauline Hergaux
Fanny Didry
Raphael Gassies
Safai Kaabi
Sarah Pottier
Laurianne Schieber
Alexandra Zagorodniouk
Sonia Louarn
Violette Pellegrini

Prasun P
Rutula Sonawane
Gauri Gauralya Chinchalker
Jyothsna Kuriakose
Shamali Poojary

New Zealand
Lucy McKeage

Eloisa Fernandes

Virginia Stimamiglio

United States
Esther Adebayo-Olojo
Moe Shwin

Future MASCC Meetings
Mark your calendar and watch for more news about future MASCC/ISOO Annual Meetings!

The MASCC Society News is prepared by the MASCC Communications Manager Angela Perez and the MASCC Website Manager Beth Hollen. If you have any ideas for content or other comments about Society News, please email Angela Perez at [email protected].

All recent issues of the MASCC Society News are available online. Older issues (before 2013) can be found in the back pages of our journal, Supportive Care in Cancer.

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