March 2023 – COA Patient Advocacy Network News Bulletin
Advocacy Chats – Educational Conversations on Cancer Advocacy and Policy Issues
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. Join Rose Gerber, MS, COA Director of Patient Advocacy and Education and Jennifer Lafferty, MS, RD, CSO, Clinical Oncology Nutritionist Supervisor at the American Oncology Network to learn about the importance of evidence-based nutrition at all stages of the cancer care continuum on Wednesday,March 8, at 12:00pm ET. Register today.
ICYMI: COA’s Crystal Ball for 2023
With a new year and a new Congress, what developments in cancer policy can advocates expect? COA’s Rose Gerber; COA Managing Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Nick Ferreyros; and COA Executive Director Ted Okon, MBA discussed what 2023 could mean for cancer care. Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel today.
Advocacy Spotlight: Tami Ramey
CPAN Advocate, The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, TX
Tami Ramey, an advocate with The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders CPAN chapter, can’t imagine being treated for cancer anywhere other than a community oncology practice. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Tami began treatment at The Center after surgery in a hospital oncology center. The difference between them was night and day: “Every single person at The Center was phenomenal—I wasn’t just a number to them,” she says.
Once in remission, Tami became increasingly involved in advocating for community oncology. Locally, she volunteered to spend time with patients receiving chemotherapy, joined CPAN, and began attending COA’s annual conference. Tami helped launch The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Texas CPAN chapter in 2017. She participates in Capitol Hill fly-ins and advocacy panels, meets with key lawmakers to advocate for crucial policy changes around the 340B drug pricing program and other priorities, and continually engages with CPAN through live and virtual advocacy events.
To Tami and so many others, community oncology is special and will always be worth the fight. “You won’t find the resources, compassion, and knowledge you get at a community oncology practice anywhere else,” she says.
Adults across the United States are being diagnosed with colon and rectal cancers at younger ages, and now one in five new cases are among those in their early 50s or younger, according to the American Cancer Society’s latest colorectal cancer report. The proportion of colorectal cancer cases among adults younger than 55 increased from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019, and there appears to be an overall shift to more diagnoses of advanced stages of cancer, according to the report.
Though BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations are associated with breast and ovarian cancer in younger women, those over 50 continue to have a high risk of breast cancer—even if they didn’t have breast cancer earlier, research from the University of Toronto shows. The risk that women aged 50-75 would develop cancer after age 50 was 49% for those with a BRCA1 mutation and 43% for those with a BRCA2 mutation, and even higher for women without risk-reduction surgeries, according to researchers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought ordinary life to a halt in 2020, screenings for cervical, breast, and prostate cancer all dropped, according to a new analysis from the American Cancer Society. Over the course of 2021, screening levels recovered—but the report’s authors say there’s still reason to be concerned about the impact of missed cancer screenings down the line.
COMMUNITY ONCOLOGY 101 – The Price of Prescription Drugs: More Complicated Than You Think
Why is prescription drug pricing complicated? Check out this Cancer Policy Minute to learn about the complex prescription drug pricing process—and why middlemen make it extremely hard to lower costs for patients.
Resources for Chapters
CPAN’s Sit In My Chair program puts policymakers in the shoes of a patient with cancer—and showcases the value of community oncology in a way they’ll never forget. Download the Sit In My Chair toolkit to learn how you can start planning your own advocacy event.
When the COVID-19 public health emergency expired, it ended a key exemption that meant that community oncologists were suddenly unable to use medically integrated specialty pharmacies to deliver medications by mail.
A new class of cancer treatments that harness the body's immune system to fight tumors is being hailed as the biggest thing in oncology since CAR-T revealed the promise of cell therapy more than a decade ago.