photo from left to right: Mary Eisler, Dr. Tony Back, Dr. Jamie Von Roenn, Dr. D. Craig Brater
San Diego, CA – 2017 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium – Anthony L. Back, MD accepts the 2017 Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium. Photo by © ASCO/Phil McCarten 2017

Anthony L. Back, MD, to Receive Inaugural Walther Cancer Foundation
Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture from ASCO

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will honor Anthony L.
Back, MD, medical oncologist and palliative care expert, with its inaugural Walther Cancer
Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture. Dr.
Back will accept his award and present a keynote lecture at the Palliative and Supportive
Care in Oncology Symposium on Saturday, October 28, in San Diego, California.
“This award celebrates the growing recognition and integration of palliative and
supportive care in cancer care, and the critical role of communication between patients
and families and their cancer clinicians,” remarked Dr. Back, Professor of Medicine at the
University of Washington, affiliate member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center, and 24-year member of ASCO. “I am truly grateful to the Walther Cancer
Foundation for recognizing the work that I and many other cancer clinicians and

researchers do to bring together the new technologies in cancer treatment with person-
centered, values-driven care—to create the kind of care that patients and families wantand deserve.”
Endowed by the Walther Cancer Foundation, this award and lecture was established to
recognize a distinguished lecturer and leader with multiple, significant, and enduring
contributions to palliative and supportive care in oncology through the prevention,
assessment and management of cancer- and treatment-related suffering.
The Walther Cancer Foundation is a private foundation that supports and promotes
interdisciplinary and inter-institutional bench and clinical cancer research, with a special
commitment to supportive oncology. The foundation’s goal is to help build cancer
programs that provide tangible benefits by expanding the world’s scientific knowledge, by
saving lives and by offering hope to patients and their families.
“As one of the few, if not the only foundation dedicated to advancing the field of
supportive oncology, we commend Dr. Back for his contributions to this area of study,”
said Thomas W. Grein, President and CEO, Walther Cancer Foundation, Inc. “Partnering
with ASCO on a prestigious lectureship is both a statement of our commitment and a
challenge to others to support this vitally important field.”
An innovator in the field of clinical communication, Dr. Back coauthored the book
Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and
Hope; served as principal investigator for the Oncotalk interventions; and developed
VitalTalk, the first iPhone app for clinician communication skills which provides guidance
to physicians and other clinicians on how to deliver difficult news to patients and their
families. His extensive work has been covered in the New York Times, USA Today, the New
England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, among many others.
Dr. Back was a 2013-2014 Contemplative Studies Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, a
member of ASCO’s Patient-Physician Communication Consensus Panel, and a faculty

scholar for the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America. His leadership has
been recognized by awards including the American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative
Care Award, the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award,
and numerous mentions as a Seattle Top Doctor.
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About ASCO:
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to
making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind,
ASCO represents more than 40,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with
cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care,
ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured,
and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer
Cancer Foundation. Learn more at, explore patient education resources at
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