Monday, July 15, 2024

Prevalence and Impact of Cancer Survivorship Programs in CoC-Accredited Facilities

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The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) has mandated survivorship programs for adult-onset cancer patients treated with curative intent since January 2021. This requirement aims to enhance the quality of life and health outcomes for cancer survivors. With over 70% of U.S. cancer patients receiving treatment at CoC-accredited facilities, this initiative offers a unique opportunity to assess the landscape of survivorship care.

Survey Design and Methodology

The study utilized an anonymous, online, cross-sectional survey conducted from May 4 to 25, 2023, targeting CoC-accredited facilities across the United States. The survey aimed to determine the prevalence, types, and outcomes of survivorship services in these facilities. Excluding Department of Veterans Affairs programs due to data restrictions, the survey captured data from 384 out of 1400 eligible programs, representing a 27.4% response rate. The survey respondents included a diverse range of institutional characteristics, geographic regions, and practice types.

Key Findings and Service Availability

The survey revealed that the majority of survivorship program personnel comprised nurses (87%) and social workers (72.4%), while fewer programs employed physical (46.9%) and occupational therapists (22.7%). Common services for all survivors included cancer screening (87.5%), nutritional counseling (85.3%), and specialist referrals (84.7%). In contrast, treatment summaries (64.7%), survivorship care plans (43%), sexual health services (57.3%), and fertility services (56.9%) were less frequently provided.

The study highlighted that most survivorship services were delivered by cancer treatment teams (63.3%) rather than specialized survivorship clinics (31.3%). This suggests a need for improved infrastructure and dedicated resources to enhance survivorship care delivery. Advanced practice clinicians with dedicated survivorship efforts (53.4%) and electronic health record enhancements (48.2%) were identified as critical resources needed for program improvement.

Barriers and Endorsements

The survey identified significant barriers to effective survivorship care, including a lack of referrals and low patient awareness. Despite these challenges, 87.2% of programs agreed that the introduction of Survivorship Standard 4.8 positively impacted their services. This standard has established a benchmark for survivorship care delivery in the U.S. and has underscored the importance of adhering to structured guidelines to improve patient outcomes.

Implications for Market Access

The survey results offer valuable insights for stakeholders aiming to optimize market access for survivorship care services. Key takeaways include:

  • Increased demand for specialized personnel like advanced practice clinicians.
  • Need for investment in electronic health record systems to streamline service delivery.
  • Potential market gaps in providing comprehensive survivorship care plans and sexual health services.

These findings suggest that enhancing resources and patient awareness could significantly improve the quality and reach of survivorship programs, ultimately benefiting cancer survivors across the country.

Original Article:

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Jul 1;7(7):e2418736. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.18736.

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