Cancer affects virtually everyone – through taking actions to prevent cancer, undergoing cancer screening, being treated for a diagnosed cancer, taking care of a loved one who has cancer, experiencing the effects of cancer survivorship, or losing someone to cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there were nearly 14 million Americans with a history of cancer alive in 2012. They estimate that 1,660,290 new cases will be diagnosed and that 580,350 Americans will die of cancer in 2013, making cancer the second leading cause of death. The estimated overall costs for cancer in 2010 were $263.8 billion, including $102.8 billion for direct medical costs, $20.9 billion in costs of lost productivity due to illness, and $140.1 billion in costs of lost productivity due to death.
As alluded to above, there is an entire continuum of care associated with cancer, including prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, recurrence, and end-of-life. Here at Hopkins GIM, researchers are investigating issues all across the cancer continuum. Through collaborations with our colleagues in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and across the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, we are investigating questions related to challenges such as determining the appropriate populations to target for genetic testing, addressing the health-related quality of life and supportive care needs of patients undergoing treatment, determining appropriate follow-up care for cancer survivors, and ensuring quality palliative care for patients at the end of life.
One of GIM's intramural collaborations is with the Cancer Outcomes & Health Services Research Interest Group, which was formed in 2006 to connect researchers across the schools of medicine, nursing, and public health working in the area of cancer outcomes and health services research. The purpose of the interest group is to (1) identify who is doing research related to cancer outcomes and health services research; (2) learn about ongoing and planned research projects; (3) discuss opportunities for collaboration; and (4) begin developing an infrastructure to support this area of research. The Interest Group has over 100 members and meets monthly for a formal presentation and group discussion. The Interest Group is sponsored by the Cancer Center, the School of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Clinical Investigation, and the Division of General Internal Medicine and is chaired by Craig Pollack, MD, MHS, and Antonio Wolff, MD.