July 2023 – COA Patient Advocacy Network News Bulletin

Advocacy Chats – Educational Conversations on Cancer Advocacy and Policy Issues

The COA Policy and Advocacy Mid-Year Update
With the first six months of 2023 behind us, where does cancer policy stand today? On July 12th, COA Director of Patient Advocacy and Education Rose Gerber, MS, and Managing Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Nicolas Ferreyros discussed 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.

ICYMI: Cancer Survivorship: The Impact on Mental Health
Cancer survivors face mental health challenges entering a new phase of life with potentially different physical capabilities, emotional states, outlook, and plans for the future. COA’s Rose Gerber and the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence’s Diane Simard (founder) discussed their own experiences as cancer survivors, the importance of mental health support for patients and survivors, and more. Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel.

Advocacy Spotlight: Betty Apt
CPAN Advocate, Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers, Kennesaw, Georgia

Imagine learning during cancer treatment that you would need to drive five times further to continue seeing your oncologist. This was Betty Apt’s reality when her local oncology clinic was purchased by a hospital nearly an hour from her home.

But Betty had another option—finding the high-quality, convenient, and personal care she needed within her community. At Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers, she found everything she was looking for and more.

“Walking in for the first time, it felt like I was joining a family, like I was home,” Betty said. “That’s why I advocate for community oncology.”

Inspired by the passion of her oncology team, Betty joined the clinic’s COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) chapter. Using what she learns through CPAN, Betty regularly advocates to representatives at the state and federal levels, offering a critically important patient perspective and keeping decision makers up to speed on the landscape of cancer care and the need to support community oncology.

“When cancer policy changes, patients are the ones who are affected,” Betty said. “COA and CPAN give people like me the platform to make sure those stories are heard where they’re needed most.”

Cancer News You Can Use

When Young People Survive Cancer, Their Mental-Health Struggles Are Often Just Beginning – STAT News 06/28
Thanks to advances in treatments, children’s chances of surviving cancer are higher than ever before. But the trauma that patients experience as they deal with the disease can pose a lifelong risk to their mental health, according to a recent analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics. Overall, childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors were 57% more likely to develop depression, 29% more likely to develop anxiety, and 56% more likely to develop psychotic disorders in the years following treatment compared to their siblings or healthy members of a control group.

Biden Administration Launches Effort To Address Cancer Disparities Stemming From Poverty – The Hill 06/26
The Biden Administration announced Monday it’s launching a new initiative to improve cancer outcomes in low-income communities. The Administration is funneling $50 million to the new effort, dubbed the Persistent Poverty Initiative, which will be evenly distributed to five cancer research centers with the goal of addressing the “structural and institutional factors of persistent poverty” when it comes to cancer, according to a release from the National Institutes of Health.

The Next Big Advance In Cancer Treatment Could Be A Vaccine – The Associated Press 06/23
After decades of limited success, scientists say research has reached a turning point, with many predicting more vaccines will be out in five years. These aren’t traditional vaccines that prevent disease, but shots to shrink tumors and stop cancer from coming back. Targets for these experimental treatments include breast and lung cancer, with gains reported this year for deadly skin cancer melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

COMMUNITY ONCOLOGY 101 – Cancer Policy Minute: Pharmacy Benefit Managers

When pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, raise the price of drugs, cancer patients can’t access the essential medications they need. Learn more about the impact of these abusive middlemen in this Cancer Policy Minute.

Resources for Chapters

The best time to host a Sit in My Chair advocacy event is when your federal representatives are out of session—luckily, the congressional August recess is just around the corner. Download the Sit in My Chair toolkit and begin planning your event to show your lawmaker why they should stand up for community oncology.

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