Storytelling at American Society of Clinical Oncology

Medscape,     June 3, 2018


The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) had a new session at its annual meeting this year: ASCO Voices. The goal of this storytelling event, was to remind the oncologists of their deep human selves, something that the other data driven sessions wouldn’t be doing.

Four stories were selected from 60 video submissions:

  1. The story of the now-doctor’s leukemia diagnosis as a young man, his cure, and other events which caused him to enroll in medical school.
  2. Two doctors shared the story of their friendship from trainees at a cancer center, through their academic careers at different universities and into them being working mothers.
  3. A New Zealand doctor who had a lowly job in an oncology clinic under a harsh head nurse. He ended his talk with a proverb from the Maori: “What’s the most important thing about work?” “It is the people, the people, the people.”
  4. A doctor, named Pat, received a call from a colleague, named Dave where Dave announced his brain cancer diagnosis. Dave’s family was spread across the world. So Pat and another colleague visited Dave after his first surgery and rehab; they planned just to stay a few minutes, not two hours. The next day, Dave texted them, “Next Sunday?” which started weekly meetings lasting months and months, through Dave’s subsequent unsuccessful treatments until his death. Pat ended by contemplating who he would call were he in Dave’s place, and who would answer.
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