NCCS’s mission is to advocate for quality cancer care for all people touched by cancer, but what exactly is “quality cancer care,” and why is it essential for patients and the health care system? With more people impacted by cancer than ever before, and with increasing costs associated with the care of these individuals, assuring sustainable quality care that is patient-centered is imperative. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and others have worked to define quality cancer care, and NCCS has been a patient voice in these efforts and played a leadership role in building the evidence base for quality cancer care. For more information, read about NCCS’s Policy Accomplishments and other Influential Publications.
In defining quality cancer care, NCCS believes that cancer patients should have access to:
- Care that adheres to practice guidelines and evidence-based standards of care;
- Comprehensive cancer care that assures proper treatment of the symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment;
- Coordinated care with strong communication among all the providers and the patient, supported by modern health information technology;
- A written care plan detailing all elements of cancer care;
- Care in a clinical trial, if it represents a potential treatment option;
- Honest discussion with their physicians regarding prognosis, the intent of therapy and the patient’s values and preferences regarding care;
- An assessment of their psychosocial needs and referrals to resources;
- Palliative care throughout the course of treatment, from diagnosis through end of life;
- End-of-life care, including but not limited to hospice care of adequate scope and duration;
- Their personal health information, including their electronic health records; and
- Robust health information systems that support and improve all other aspects of quality cancer care.
Survivors who are ending active therapy and beginning a period of survivorship should have access to:
- A treatment summary and survivorship care plan that details the schedule for monitoring their health status and obtaining follow-up care;
- Services for monitoring of health status and the risk of complications and second cancers; and
- Coordinated care for complications of cancer and its treatment and for second cancers, without fear that their cancer diagnosis will disqualify them from future health insurance coverage.
- NCCS continues to advocate for passage of federal legislation that would encourage the use of cancer care plans as one tool to ensure that these essential components of quality survivorship care are delivered.