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ASCO Report Shows Widespread Disturbance in Oncology Practice


Pharmaceutical Executive

18 March, 2015.

A new study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is now available, which chronicles the current realities of the cancer care system and examines trends in the oncology workforce and practice environment that are affecting patient care and access. The report is titled "The State of Cancer Care in America: 2015."

According to the ASCO report, there is a wider array of treatment options than ever before for many cancers. In 2014, the FDA added 10 new treatments to its list of more than 170 approved anti-cancer agents, and also approved four new medical devices and tests that may improve patient outcomes through early detection of cancer. In addition, more than 770 cancer therapies are in the research and development pipeline and therapies are demonstrating dramatic improvements in efficacy.

However, the report noted growing challenges to high-quality care delivery, some are as follows:

  • Due largely to an aging population, a dramatic 45% increase in cancer incidence is expected by 2030, leading to an overwhelming demand for cancer care and post-treatment services in the relatively near future.

  • Benefits of cancer screening and treatment advances have not been experienced consistently across racial and ethnic groups, as evidenced by differences in incidence and mortality rates. African Americans, for example, are 2.5 percent more likely to develop cancer than whites and 19.6 percent more likely to die from cancer. 

  • Nation's ability to care for an increasing number of people with cancer depends on a workforce that is sufficient in size, diversity, and geographic reach. 

  • Continuation of practice consolidations, as one quarter of all community-based oncology practices report the likelihood of becoming affiliated with a hospital over the next year.

  • ·     Industry needs to find better ways to pay for and incentivize high-quality, value-based care. ASCO is currently developing and testing an alternative payment approach that reflects the current realities of oncology practices and ensures that patients receive the full range of services that are integral to their care.

ASCO made a number of recommendations directed to Congress, one of which calls on increasing the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute by at least $32 billion and $5.32 billion, respectively. It also states: "As the 21st Century Cures initiative moves forward in the House -- and the "Innovation for Healthier Americans" legislation in the Senate -- ensure interoperability of medical records and provide the resources to enable practices to track and report quality measures, while serving patients in an environment of widespread change in care delivery and payment systems."

Read the full release here.

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