Keynote Address: When Breath Becomes Air – As Physician Becomes Patient

This information was originally presented at the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care™ held in Orlando, Florida, from March 23 - 25, 2017.

Target Audience

This educational program is designed to meet the educational needs of medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists; nurses; physician assistants; pharmacists; pathologists; and other health care professionals who manage patients with cancer.

Learning Objectives

Following this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the key inflection points during the course of a life threatening illness and how they contribute to the complexity of relationships among patients, their families, and their health care professionals.
  • Develop strategies to optimize communication between clinician-patient-family during the course of a life-threatening illness.
  • Determine key factors to consider in developing an individual approach to clinician-patient-family communication to ensure optimal care and informed decision-making.
Additional information

The activity is supported by educational grants from Ariad; Astellas and Medivation, Inc.; AstraZeneca; BTG International Inc.; Celgene Corporation; Celldex Therapeutics; Foundation Medicine; Genentech; Genomic Health, Inc.; Gilead Sciences, Medical Affairs; Lilly; Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Novartis; Pfizer; Prometheus Laboratories Inc.; Taiho Oncology; and Takeda Oncology.

This activity is supported by independent educational grants from AbbVie; Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Incyte, and Merck Co., Inc.

This activity is supported by educational funding provided by Amgen.

This educational activity is supported by a medical education grant from Exelixis, Inc.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.25 ACPE contact hours
  • 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.25 ANCC contact hours
  • 1.25 Participation
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Robert W. Carlson, MD
National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Lucy Kalanithi, MD
Widow of the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, for which she wrote the epilogue; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine

Heather Wakelee, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford Cancer Institute; Treating Oncologist of the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi


Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships
All faculty and activity planners participating in NCCN Continuing Education activities are expected to disclose any relevant financial relationships with a commercial interest as defined by the ACCME's, ANCC's, and ACPE's Standards for Commercial Support. All faculty presentations have been reviewed for adherence to the ACCME's Criterion 7: The provider develops activities/educational interventions independent of commercial interests (SCS 1, 2, and 6) by experts on the topics. Full disclosure of faculty relationships will be made prior to the activity.

The faculty listed below disclose no relevant financial relationships:
Robert W. Carlson, MD
Lucy Kalanithi, MD

The faculty listed below discloses the following relevant financial relationships:
Heather Wakelee, MD
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP: Grant/Research Support
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company: Grant/Research Support
Celgene Corporation: Grant/Research Support
Clovis Oncology: Grant/Research Support
Eli Lilly and Company: Grant/Research Support
Exelixis Inc.: Grant/Research Support
Genentech, Inc.: Grant/Research Support
Gilead Sciences, Inc.: Grant/Research Support
Helsinn Group: Consulting Fees, Honoraria
MedImmune Inc.: Grant/Research Support
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation: Grant/Research Support
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc.: Consulting Fees, Honoraria
Pfizer Inc.: Consulting Fees, Honoraria; Grant/Research Support
Roche Laboratories, Inc.: Grant/Research Support
Xcovery: Grant/Research Support

The NCCN Activity Planning staff listed below discloses no relevant financial relationships:
Kimberly Bayer; Mark Geisler; Kristina M. Gregory, RN, MSN, OCN; Kristin Kline Hasson; Rose Joyce; Karen Kanefield; Lisa Kimbro, MBA, CPA; Joan S. McClure, MS; Diane McPherson; Melanie Moletzsky; Deborah Moonan, RN, BSN (employed by NCCN until 2/7/2017); Lisa Perfidio; Liz Rieder; Shannon K. Ryan; Kathy Smith; Jennifer McCann Weckesser (employed by NCCN until 2/3/2017); Gary J. Weyhmuller, MBA, SPHR


The ACCME/ANCC/ACPE defines “conflict of interest” as when an individual has an opportunity to affect CE content about products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship.

ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC focuses on financial relationships with commercial interests in the 12-month period preceding the time that the individual is being asked to assume a role controlling content of the CE activity. ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC have not set a minimal dollar amount for relationships to be significant. Inherent in any amount is the incentive to maintain or increase the value of the relationship. The ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC defines “relevant’ financial relationships” as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest.

Faculty Disclaimers

All faculty for this continuing education activity are competent in the subject matter and qualified by experience, training, and/or preparation to the tasks and methods of delivery.

Faculty presentations may include discussion of off-label use. Faculty will disclose that the use in question is not currently approved by the FDA per the product labeling.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Physician Assistants
AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. PAs may receive a maximum of 1.25 hours of Category I credit for completing this activity.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

NCCN designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.25 contact hours.


National Comprehensive Cancer Network is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

NCCN designates this knowledge-based continuing education activity for 1.25 contact hour (0.125 CEUs) of continuing education credit. UAN: 0836-0000-17-034-H01-P

Available Credit

  • 1.25 ACPE contact hours
  • 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.25 ANCC contact hours
  • 1.25 Participation


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Required Hardware/software

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