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Survivorship Researcher’s Response to WSJ Article on Cancer Care

andi-dwyer

by Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, The Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado Cancer Center

Response to the Wall Street Journal article:  The Next Front in Cancer Care

Cancer survivorship topics are featured in the Wall Street Journal? How exciting!

As noted in the article by the WSJ, Treatment Summaries and Survivorship Care Plans (TS/SCP) are now encouraged and required by The Commission on Cancer.  Several foundations and survivorship champions have begun to offer templates and structure to help clinical teams and treatment facilities provide the specific information. The hope is that they help patients bridge primary care with understanding of their treatment and health recommendations going forward.

The large scale implementation of Electronic Medical Records also provides the infrastructure to help implement TS/SCPs and many facilities build their own plans with this technology.

A common concern and barrier for the growing number of treatment providers who are trying to produce TS/SCPs is that to produce a quality TS/SCP, time and resources are necessary but there is not a funding stream available for development of TS/SCPs.  The proposed legislation, The Planning Actively for Cancer Treatment Act, is a fantastic opportunity to help alleviate this major concern and hopefully enhance the capacity so TS/SCPs are available for all cancer survivors.  If passed, perhaps this will serve as precedence amongst private and public insurance providers.

The study of TS/SCPs and impact is limited at this time. Current research efforts are underway throughout the country to help understand the role and dissemination strategies to ensure that this approach creates improved health and quality of life for cancer survivors.

It is important to ensure that often scarce resources are dedicated to approaches that are truly effective. Care planning has shown to be effective in several chronic conditions and it is exciting this approach might apply to cancer, another condition that has impacted more than 14 million people who are living longer and healthier lives than ever before.

For more background and information on survivorship…

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