ASCO: You’re listening to a podcast from Cancer.Net. This cancer information website is produced by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, known as ASCO, the voice of the world's oncology professionals.
The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. This is not a substitute for professional medical care and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions. Guests on this podcast express their own opinions, experience, and conclusions. Guests’ statements on this podcast do not express the opinions of ASCO. The mention of any product, service, organization, activity, or therapy should not be construed as an ASCO endorsement. Cancer research discussed in this podcast is ongoing, so data described here may change as research progresses.
The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it confusion, fear, and uncertainty for most people around the globe. These feelings were often heightened for people with cancer as they experienced disruptions or changes in care, such as following greater safety precautions at their treatment centers, having their appointments shifted to televisits, and facing delays in recommended cancer screenings.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cancer.Net developed several resources for people with cancer, including its post “Coronavirus and COVID-19: What People With Cancer Need to Know,” written by Dr. Merry Jennifer Markham. After publishing this post on March 3, 2020, Dr. Markham reviewed and updated the post for 650 days straight to make sure people with cancer were receiving the most up-to-date and relevant information about COVID-19. The post went on to receive the Award of Distinction from the eHealthcare Awards in the Best COVID-19 Pandemic Related Communications category and was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic.
In this podcast, ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Julie Gralow talks with Dr. Markham about her role in creating information for people with cancer throughout the pandemic, how the pandemic has shifted her perspective, and where she sees the future of the pandemic response headed.
Dr. Gralow: Hello. I'm Dr. Julie Gralow, ASCO's Chief Medical Officer. Today, I'm talking with Dr. Merry Jennifer Markham, an ASCO volunteer and the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gynecologic Cancers. Cancer.Net is the patient information website of ASCO. Dr. Markham is also chief of the University of Florida, Division of Hematology and Oncology, a clinical professor in the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the associate director for medical affairs at the University of Florida Health Cancer Center.
Dr. Markham played a key role in ensuring that ASCO provides up-to-date information about COVID-19 for patients, survivors, and caregivers through Cancer.Net. Since March 2020, she devoted a remarkable amount of time and energy to this endeavor, including a stretch of 650 straight days of reviewing and updating our patient information about coronavirus. Wow. That's true dedication, Merry Jennifer. So I would like to kick it off to you, Merry Jennifer. First of all, thank you so much for everything you've done during these past couple of years in keeping our Cancer.Net website up to date for patients during these incredibly challenging times. I'm looking forward to having a conversation with you about all of this.
Dr. Markham: Thank you so much. It's been an honor and a pleasure. And the Cancer.Net team has been just fantastic to work with.
Dr. Gralow: Great. Glad to hear it. So Merry Jennifer, when you suggested that ASCO provide some patient-focused content on COVID and cancer, did you think we'd still be talking about this 2 years later?
Dr. Markham: Oh, I had no idea what to expect. No. I think I, like many of us, thought that this would be a very time-limited event and maybe by the Christmas time of 2020, that we would be done. We were all, of course, disappointed to learn that that was no