About the Cancer History Project

The Cancer History Project is a new way of preserving history: collaboratively curated by the institutions and people who shaped it.

Created to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Cancer History Project is a free historical resource that places–in perpetuity—a vast, expertly curated collection of primary sources and authoritative interpretations within easy reach of researchers, medical professionals, students, policy-makers, and patients. 

The objective of the Cancer History Project is twofold:

  1. Bring together leaders in oncology to produce a robust collection of historical documents, preserving them and making them publically available.

  2. Create a starting point for a broader discussion of history and community in oncology.

The Cancer History Project draws on the expertise of an editorial board of physicians, scientists, advocates, and communicators.

Contributor status is obtained by invitation or application only. Eligible organizations include cancer centers, advocacy groups, professional societies, pharmaceutical companies, and key players in oncology. To inquire about becoming a contributor, contact admin@cancerhistoryproject.com.

Contributor content must be historical in nature, and is reviewed by the Cancer History Project team for credibility and relevance. A list of suggested content is available below.

The Cancer History Project is operated by The Cancer Letter, the longest-running oncology news publication, and is funded by sponsorships. While some contributors may choose to be sponsors, contributor status is reserved for organizations that have had an impact on the field of oncology, and will always be free.

This is an ongoing project that will continue to acquire materials and expand beyond the 50th anniversary year, and would not be possible without the input and materials provided by our editorial board, our contributors, and the support of our sponsors.

Read an editorial by co-editors Paul Goldberg and Otis Brawley announcing the project.

Recommended content

All submissions are organized into the following categories: Articles, Research Milestones, People, Institutions, Primary Sources, and Photo Archives.

The Cancer History Project seeks any content relating to the history of oncology, included but not limited to:

  • Existing archives and historical resources.

  • Primary documents.

  • Oral histories and interviews.

  • Embedded videos.

  • Photo archives.

  • Festschrifts.

  • Profiles of key figures in oncology—individuals, institutions, and more.

  • Encyclopedia-style entries.

  • Historical analysis is invited and encouraged.

  • Previously unpublished or out of print books, memoirs, plays, poetry, etc relevant to oncology.

  • We also welcome reading recommendations and book reviews by opinion leaders.

  • Timelines of breakthroughs, institutions, and diseases.

  • Patient stories, particularly of a historical nature.

  • Previously published materials of historical relevance that have been archived off of your institution’s website.

Ethics Statement

While the Cancer History Project emphasizes historical credibility, this is not a peer-reviewed journal. Every article is linked to the institution that wrote it. In the event of conflicting opinions, the Cancer History Project will allow both sides of the story to exist—with sources cited, including the conflicting article. In complex cases, we will rely on the judgment of our editorial board.

We are committed to unbiased, balanced coverage grounded in respect for evidence-based medicine, and the principles of peer review, appropriate management of conflicts, health equity, and social justice.

The Cancer History Project is owned and operated entirely by The Cancer Letter. 

The Cancer Letter is privately owned, with 100% of shares owned by editor and publisher Paul Goldberg. In reportage, our loyalty is owed entirely to our readers. Over 90% of The Cancer Letter’s revenues come from subscriptions, less than 10% from advertising, and only a fraction of advertising comes from pharmaceutical companies.

In both the Cancer History Project and The Cancer Letter, any conflicts of interest are the responsibility of the author to disclose.