Director's message: Reducing the burden of cancer

Volume 6, Issue 3, 2017


Mayo Clinic researchers are advancing new ways to help reduce side effects of cancer treatment.

Photograph of Robert B. Diasio, M.D., director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.

We often hear about the burden of cancer as it relates to statistics about diagnosis and mortality. Yet there is another all-consuming burden for patients diagnosed with cancer — treatments that can cause significant and debilitating side effects, such as peripheral neuropathy, diarrhea, fatigue and coughing.

Researchers with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center understand that burden and are identifying ways to reduce and eliminate the side effects of cancer treatment. You can learn more about some of these achievements in this issue of Forefront.

Read, for example, about the results of a Mayo Clinic-led study that suggest that a shorter three-month duration of a particular chemotherapy for patients with low-risk colorectal cancer may be as effective as six months of chemotherapy. A shorter chemotherapy regimen could potentially spare patients some of the side effects of treatment.

In this issue's "Meet the Investigator" video feature, you hear from Andrea E. Wahner Hendrickson, M.D. One of Dr. Wahner Hendrickson's areas of research is using genomics to identify factors associated with chemotherapy-induced nerve damage. She also is involved in two studies exploring how patient genetic makeup affects response to cancer treatment.

Few, if any, cancer treatments are without side effects, but you can be assured that researchers at Mayo Clinic will continue to work on ways to lessen the burden on patients.

Robert B. Diasio, M.D.

  • Director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor