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Few scientific or medical journals have enjoyed continuous publication for the past 60 years; of these, even fewer have had the impact on an entire disease system as that enjoyed by Cancer, whose first issue appeared in 1948. World War II had recently ended, the Cold War was just beginning, and computers, cell phones, the Internet, 9/11, and so many other vectors of change were beyond the ken of anyone except perhaps authors of science fiction. Cancer care, when given, was the province of surgeons and the occasional radiologist who had a radiotherapeutic bent. Systemic therapy was in its infancy as agents, such as nitrogen mustard, made the transition from the military to the civilian arena, whereas others began the journey from the proverbial bench to the bedside.

It was a brave decision for the American Cancer Society to begin publishing a new journal, especially because, even the word ‘cancer’ was taboo in everyday parlance at that time. For many years, Cancer was the only publication devoted exclusively to oncology; and, even in the first year of its publication, reports involving authors from more than one area of specialization were included, setting the stage for the multidisciplinary clinical and research collaborations that are the hallmark of progress in contemporary oncology.

Several months ago, the Editorial Board of Cancer decided to honor this journal in its 60th anniversary publication year by preparing a special commemorative issue. Each section editor was given the latitude to decide on a report that would highlight that component of oncology in which they are expert. What resulted is a remarkable collection of articles, including state-of-the-art reviews, historical perspectives, classical reports revisited, and speculations about what the future may hold in store for us. I hope that you find the contents of this special anniversary issue as enjoyable to read as it was for us to prepare!