Tony Back: Palliative care leader honored by ACS

American Cancer Society honors SCCA oncologist’s innovative work to relieve suffering, improve quality of life and communication for cancer patients
Dr. Anthony Back
Dr. Anthony Back has been a strong advocate for the development of palliative care in the U.S. for more than a decade. Center News file photo

Dr. Tony Back, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s director of palliative care and the Program on Cancer Communication, was one of five Americans honored by the American Cancer Society in a Nov. 5 ceremony during the organization’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

Back received the Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award in recognition of his tireless personal passion for promoting palliative care and patient quality of life. Back has been a strong advocate for the development of palliative care in the United States for more than a decade. He has made significant contributions to advance palliative care, including his groundbreaking work creating collaborations of clinicians, teachers, and researchers committed to effective and compassionate communication with patients and their families. 

His work has also helped make communication skills a core component of oncology practice. Back, who is also an SCCA gastrointestinal oncologist, developed the OncoTalk and OncoTalk Teach programs to improve doctor-patient communication and help transform teaching in clinical practices to benefit patients and families facing cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.    

The ACS is the nation’s largest nongovernmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion. As a community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer, the ACS has more than 900 local offices in the U.S. and a presence in more than 5,100 communities.

[Adapted from an American Cancer Society news release]

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