The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has published a new article that outlines a framework for research on cancer survivorship and its translation into policy. Co-authored by Eva Grunfeld, Craig Earle and NCCS Senior Health Policy Advisor Ellen Stovall, the article A Framework for Cancer Survivorship Research highlights the ongoing shortage of studies looking at important issues relevant to cancer survivors—such as supportive care, late effects and optimal surveillance care.
Importantly, the authors recommend a multi-dimensional approach. There are common elements that are important for all cancer survivors. These include follow-up care, prevention and management of other medical conditions, and psychosocial issues, among others. On the other hand, there are unique elements that are determined by cancer type and site, as well as treatment pursued and the patient’s personal health characteristics (such as risk factors and age). The framework also recognizes that survivors of childhood and young adult cancer are different from survivors of adult-onset cancers. For both the common and cancer-specific issues, there are four recommended research domains: biomedical, clinical, health care system and population. Finally, there are a range of possible research settings and methodologies that can yield fruitful insights.
The article also addresses the need to link research and policy activities, especially in areas where broader or systemic action is needed in order to implement research findings. For example, action by government and/or private payers may be needed in order to make sure evidence-based recommended health care services are available to cancer survivors. Recent attention by national agencies and organizations has highlighted the importance of better understanding and support for the needs of cancer survivors.