cancer care planning infographicOn October 17th, NCCS Senior Health Policy Advisor Ellen Stovall will be presenting the patient perspective on overtreatment at the ASCO Quality Care Symposium in Boston. Ellen will be discussing the Choosing Wisely® campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation intended to help physicians and patients engage in conversations to reduce overuse of tests and procedures, as well as to support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices.

Among patient advocates, there is not necessarily a broad consensus regarding the Choosing Wisely campaign. The program is geared towards physicians and does not have clearly developed messages focused on patient education, which is a central to the work and mission of many patient advocates. Additionally, as advocates are generally focused on the “cure,” including research funding and direct services to patients, there is some question if the campaign is designed to “do less in all circumstances.”

NCCS believes that Choosing Wisely is a good beginning to addressing many of the issues in the cancer care system, however more work is needed to address cost, value, and sustainability concerns. We also believe that overtreatment results in serious harms to patients – physically, emotionally, and financially – and that shared decision-making and treatment planning can result in better treatment choices.

Our goal is engaged patients and shared decision-making as well as cancer care planning at diagnosis and at major transition points during treatment and survivorship. Delivery and payment reforms are essential to quality improvement, and we represent cancer survivors in public policy efforts the quality of cancer care. Critical components of reform are the patients, the reimbursements systems, and the providers.

NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso and COO Nina Wendling will also be attending the symposium. Stay connected with this discussion by following NCCS on Twitter @canceradvocacy, and by reading more about the issues and updates on our Cancer Policy Matters blog.


Ellen is a 42-year survivor of three bouts with cancer and has been advocating for more than 30 years to improve cancer care. She was a founding member of the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Board and its successor, the National Cancer Policy Forum. Prior to the establishment of the Forum, Ellen was vice-chair of the National Cancer Policy Board and co-chaired its Committee on Cancer Survivorship. In that capacity, she co-edited the Institute of Medicine’s report “From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition.”