August 2023 – COA Patient Advocacy Network News Bulletin

Advocacy Chats – Educational Conversations on Cancer Advocacy and Policy Issues

Sept. 13: Health Insurance Open Enrollment – What Patients Need to Know

Save the date for the next CPAN Advocacy Chat! Health insurance open enrollment is just around the corner, and patients with cancer need to consider several key factors when choosing the right health plan for their treatment needs. Join Rose Gerber, MS, COA director of patient advocacy and education, and Kathy Oubre, chief executive officer, Pontchartrain Cancer Center on September 13 at 12:00pm ET to learn everything patients need to know about open enrollment. Register Today.

ICYMI: The COA Policy and Advocacy Mid-Year Update

With more than half of 2023 behind us, where does cancer policy stand today? Rose Gerber was joined by COA Managing Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Nicolas Ferreyros to discuss the latest cancer policy developments, including COA’s advocacy efforts, legislation to protect patients and practices, upcoming regulatory changes, and more. Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel.

Advocacy Spotlight: Stephen Schleicher, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer & Medical Oncologist, Tennessee Oncology, Nashville, TN

Patients with cancer should have access to the high quality, personal care provided by community oncologists—that’s why the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) educates the next generation of oncologists and hematologists on the value of practicing in independent cancer clinics. The COA Fellows Initiative engages oncologists and hematologists in training to increase the community oncology workforce and protect local cancer care.

As an oncology fellow, Stephen Schleicher, MD, MBA, was warned by well-intentioned academic colleagues that community oncology offered fewer opportunities than academic or hospital settings. Finding the opposite to be true, Dr. Schleicher—now the chief medical officer of the third largest independent practice in the United States—helps future oncologists and hematologists understand why community oncology should be their top practice choice.

With a business and medical background, Dr. Schleicher searched for a setting that would combine both interests. As he completed his training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the opportunities and advice pointed towards academia—but community oncology offered everything he was looking for: a focus on leadership, care innovation, and personalized patient care.

“Community oncology exceeded my wildest expectations,” Dr. Schleicher said. “I get to care for patients in the comfort of their communities, supported by resources that surpass almost any institution in the country. That’s what the COA Fellows Initiative is about—showing the next generation of providers why community oncology is an amazing and rewarding career path.”

As a committed member of the COA Fellows Initiative, Dr. Schleicher shows oncologists in training that community oncology can offer the best of both worlds: access to innovative treatments, mentorship, healthy work/life balance, and collaboration typically associated with academic or hospital centers; and the personal, patient-centered care that can only be found in a community setting.

“We have an opportunity to help oncology and hematology fellows across the country discover a practice setting they may have overlooked,” Dr. Schleicher said. “This next generation of community oncologists and hematologists will be the reason millions of patients continue to have access to convenient, affordable, and personalized care.”

Cancer News You Can Use

Older Women’s Breast Cancer Is Often Overdiagnosed, Study Finds, Raising Risk Of Unnecessary Treatment  CNN 08/09

A breast cancer diagnosis is an all-too-common reality for women around the world. Health care providers and patients alike are usually inclined to pursue treatment to stop the disease. But some experts say it isn’t always necessary to treat breast cancer in older women with aggressive therapy. A new study found that large numbers of American women ages 70 to 85 are potentially overdiagnosed with breast cancer and therefore could receive unnecessary treatment.

When Cancer Strikes Twice, Black Americans Face Higher Death Rates  HealthDay 08/07

Black Americans diagnosed with a second primary cancer after their first one are more likely to die than their white peers, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society. Researchers found that Black patients have a 21% higher cancer-related death rate than their white counterparts, and Hispanic patients’ cancer-related death rates after a second cancer diagnosis are 10% higher than white patients.

Pandemic Slowed Cancer Diagnoses, But Late-Stage Cancers Came Back With A Vengeance  STAT News 08/04

Early-stage cancer diagnoses decreased by nearly 20% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study published in Lancet Oncology emphasizes how, because of disruptions in care, patients were more likely to get diagnosed with deadly metastatic disease across nearly all cancer types. The starkest decline was observed after the initial shutdowns, with the regular 70,000 monthly cancer diagnoses being cut in half in April 2020.

COMMUNITY ONCOLOGY 101 – Spotlight on Cancer Care: Always Looking Forward

How does a community oncology practice maintain and improve its patient care? New England Cancer Specialists says it’s by always looking forward. Learn more in this Spotlight on Cancer Care.

Resources for Chapters

A prepared advocate is an effective advocate—and CPAN Advocacy Chats make it easy to stay up to date on the latest challenges, opportunities, and policy developments in cancer care. Visit CPAN’s Advocacy Chat library for past discussions on health equity, clinical trials, advocacy strategies, and much more.

Recent News & Updates