AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Jun 2, 2013) - Today, on National Cancer Survivor's Day, the LIVESTRONG Foundation is celebrating the nation's 14 million cancer survivors by announcing its plans to further advance the rights of cancer patients and survivors through an innovative care plan study. The Foundation projects this study could revolutionize the field of cancer survivorship and impact up to 70 percent of people living with cancer in the United States.
In partnership with the Commission on Cancer, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society, the Foundation is investing nearly $1 million over the next two years to evaluate the feasibility of implementing automated care plans with clinicians, patients and survivors of prostate, colorectal and breast cancer. The study is empowering cancer survivors and caregivers with affordable access to tools and programs that use data to improve their care.
"After treatment, many survivors still experience emotional, practical and physical concerns, but do not always receive the help they need to address these issues," said Rechis. "Care plans are a valuable resource because they provide survivors with information about their past treatment and recommendations for long-term care in one concise format for their own use and that can be shared with their health care providers. This study is the first-of-its kind, and will lead to a better understanding of how we can provide the majority of survivors an evidence-based road map of their follow-up appointments, treatment side effects, late effects and other key guideposts to help improve their survival rates."
"Despite the clear recognition of the value of providing cancer patients with a summary of their care and plans for future care, most oncologists still do not give this to their patients," said Stephen B. Edge, MD, FACS, Executive Committee Member, Commission on Cancer; Medical Director, Chief of Breast Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "A key barrier to this is the time required to pull information from many sources into a summary, coupled with local and national resources regarding follow-up care, side effects and other survivorship issues. Recognizing this need, the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons included in its national cancer program accreditation standards providing each patient with such a plan. This project will give physicians, nurses, and their institutions a means of generating these plans with minimal extra work effort, and provide patients with links to key information to help them as they move into the survivorship phase of cancer."
"The LIVESTRONG Care Plan provides cancer survivors with the information they need to move on after treatment with an understanding of the potential effects and follow up needs," said James Metz, MD, Vice Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology, Penn Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, OncoLink. "This study will allow us to improve the efficiency of care plan delivery by integrating the process into electronic medical records. The ultimate goal of this project is to expand the delivery of care plans to as many cancer survivors as possible."
"At diagnosis, patients are presented with a plan that provides a roadmap to guide their treatment and prepare them for what to expect," said Linda Jacobs, PhD, RN, LIVESTRONG Program Director at Penn Medicine. "Unfortunately, a similar guide for individuals in post-treatment care is far less common. With the Survivor Care Plan, patients will be armed with the necessary tools to manage life after cancer and busy clinicians will be better equipped to deliver the critical follow-up care information to patients -- a win-win scenario."
This week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, the world's premier oncology conference held in Chicago May 31-June 4, Rechis is presenting a poster on the 2012 LIVESTRONG Survey related to survivorship care plans and the essential elements of cancer care. While the Institute of Medicine, the Commission on Cancer and the LIVESTRONG Foundation, among others, have identified these plans as a critical component of improving long-term outcomes, the study showed that only 51 percent of responding survivors received treatment summaries, and even more alarmingly, only 17 percent reported receiving survivorship care plans.
Earlier during the ASCO Annual Meeting, the Foundation honored Dr. Harold P. Freeman, renowned as the pioneer of patient navigation, with the 2013 LIVESTRONG Leader in Oncology Award. Dr. Freeman is the founder and CEO of the Harold P. Freeman Institute for Patient Navigation, Chairman Emeritus and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York City, former senior advisor to the director of the National Cancer Institute and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. As a board member of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Dr. Freeman has served as an inspiring and engaging champion of the Foundation's fight to improve the lives of people affected by cancer throughout his illustrious career.
About the LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation provides free cancer support services to help people cope with the financial, emotional and practical challenges that accompany the disease. Created in 1997 by cancer survivor and philanthropist Lance Armstrong, the Foundation is known for its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and for its advocacy on behalf of survivors and their families. With its iconic yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has served 2.5 million people affected by the disease and raised more than $500 million to support cancer survivors. One of America's top cancer non-profit organizations, the Foundation enjoys a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and has been recognized by the National Health Council and the Better Business Bureau for its excellent governance, high standards and transparency. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.