“No patient left behind”: an alternative to “the War on Cancer” metaphor

Bryan T. Oronsky, Corey A. Carter, Arnold L. Oronsky, Michael E. Salacz, Tony Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The War on Cancer began with President Nixon’s National Cancer Act of 1971. Treatment-related ‘collateral damage’ to healthy cells and tissues that reduces quality of life is an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the overriding imperative to “win the war.” In the face of a quality of life decrement, patients are encouraged with militaristic turns-of-phrases to “soldier on,” “fight it,” and “never say die.” Rather than this dysfunctional imagery, which relegates patients to the status of mere cogs in the ever-grinding wheel of the clinical war machine and encourages the practice of disease-centered medicine, we propose an alternate analogy/organizing principle borrowed from the realm of education: No patient left behind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Chemotherapy
  • Maximally tolerated dose
  • No patient left behind
  • Resistance
  • Toxicity
  • War on Cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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