April 2023 – COA Patient Advocacy Network News Bulletin
Advocacy Chats – Educational Conversations on Cancer Advocacy and Policy Issues
The Impact of Health Equity on Cancer Care
What does health equity look like for patients with cancer? COA Director of Patient Advocacy and Education Rose Gerber, MS, and Cancer Support Community Director of Health Equity Audrey Davis, LPC, PM-LPC, will discuss factors that affect patient care and health outcomes, how to reduce their negative impact, and how organizations like COA and Cancer Support Community are working to increase health equity for all patients tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET. Register here for this event.
ICYMI: Evidence-Based Nutrition for Cancer Patients and Survivors
Nutrition during and after cancer treatment can improve treatment tolerance, enhance healing, and help with symptoms for patients and survivors. COA’s Rose Gerber, MS, and American Oncology Network’s Clinical Oncology Nutritionist Supervisor Jennifer Lafferty, MS, RD, CSO, discussed the importance of evidence-based nutrition at all stages of the cancer care continuum. – Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel today.
Advocacy Spotlight: Abra Kelson, LICSW, Support Services Manager & CPAN Chapter Advocacy Leader, Northwest Medical Specialties, WA
As a social worker and CPAN advocate, Abra Kelson, LICSW, sees the power of advocacy firsthand, connecting patients with needed supports, and using the collective voice of her CPAN chapter to improve cancer care.
As co-leader and founding member of her chapter, Abra builds a strong community of cancer care advocates, holding monthly meetings, meeting with Washington state policymakers, and participating in national COA advocacy events. “We have a passionate group of advocates through CPAN,” she says. “We know we can make a positive impact on community cancer care, both locally and nationally.”
Abra believes it is critical to advocate for community oncology to protect patients’ autonomy and choice—a core tenet of social work. “Community oncology values and hears every patient’s voice. We need to protect community oncology, so patients continue to have a say in where and how they get their care.”
Federal health officials outlined a new framework aimed at helping to implement the White House “Cancer Moonshot” initiative. One of the main goals of the Moonshot initiative is to reduce cancer mortality by at least 50% over the next 25 years. To accomplish that, the new National Cancer Plan includes eight distinct goals to prevent cancer, reduce mortality, and maximize the quality of life for people living with it.
Genetic markers have been shown to predict a person’s likelihood of developing various types of cancer. Now, researchers believe that new artificial intelligence (AI) tools could make it easier and faster for doctors to detect those indicators. A team of neurosurgeons and engineers at the University of Michigan announced last week that their new AI-based diagnostic tool, DeepGlioma, is capable of pinpointing genetic mutations in brain tumors during surgery within just 90 seconds.
A federal judge’s recent ruling on the Affordable Care Act means that patients would have to pay for some cancer screenings that are currently free—a ruling that, if it holds, could make the potentially life-saving tests unaffordable for many, experts say. The move could “ultimately result in more individuals being diagnosed with their cancer at later stages, where our treatments are more toxic, less effective and far, far more expensive,” said Dr. Craig Bunnell, chief medical officer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Community Oncology 101: What is “Fail-First” Step Therapy?
“If your doctor says: ‘You should get drug A,’ then you need to fight to get drug A,” says COA Executive Director Ted Okon, MBA. He explains how the harmful practice known as “fail-first” step therapy undermines cancer treatment decisions and how advocacy can help doctors and patients take control of cancer care in this Cancer Policy Minute.
Resources for Chapters
CPAN Advocacy Chats help community oncology advocates get up to speed on the latest challenges facing cancer care. Visit the CPAN Advocacy Chat library for 30-minute discussions of key cancer policy issues.
Grail LLC announced that it secured US regulatory approval for a study of its Galleri multicancer early detection test in people enrolled in Medicare, a research project intended to see how well this product works in an older population.
Persistent chemotherapy-related amenorrhea was common and associated with worse long-term quality of life for premenopausal women with breast cancer, according to findings published in JAMA Network Open.