Advocacy Chats - Educational Conversations on Cancer Advocacy and Policy Issues
The Role of Pharmacists in Community Oncology
Pharmacists contribute much more to community oncology practices than just dispensing drugs—they interact with and advocate for patients daily. COA's Director of Patient Advocacy and Education, Rose Gerber, MS, joined COA's Director of Clinical Initiatives, Judy Alberto, MHA, RPh, BCOP, and Hematology-Oncology Associates of Central New York's Chief Strategy Officer, Jonas Congelli, RPh, to discuss the critically important role of oncology pharmacists on Wednesday, October 11 at 12 p.m. ET. Stream it on @OncologyCOA's YouTube channel.
ICYMI: Health Insurance Open Enrollment – What Patients Need to Know
Open Enrollment provides patients an opportunity to make changes to or select a new health plan that best meets their needs. For people living with cancer, understanding how a health plan covers cancer care is key. COA’s Rose Gerber, MS, and Kathy Oubre, MS, CEO of Pontchartrain Cancer Center, discussed common types of coverage, how to navigate health insurance marketplaces, and what patients should consider when selecting a health plan. Stream it on @OncologyCOA’s YouTube channel.
Advocacy Spotlight: Lisa Poiry, RN, OCN, CPAN Chapter Advocacy Leader, Director of Quality Services, Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology
Patient voices are key to keeping momentum for community oncology alive in the halls of state capitols and Congress. As the leader of Indiana’s first COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) chapter, Lisa Poiry understands the power of patients sharing their stories.
“Patients are the ones facing the real challenges in cancer care, from limited access to increased costs. The story is what humanizes our experiences and makes it meaningful,” Lisa says. “Without patient stories, lawmakers would never understand the complexity of what goes on.”
As the director of quality services at Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology, Lisa develops close relationships with patients and helps ensure their voices are heard, especially when they are often left out of policy decisions that affect their care.
With CPAN-provided resources, Lisa keeps patients up to speed on the biggest policy opportunities in cancer care, and helps them directly advocate to federal, state, and local lawmakers. Together, education and patient stories create and impact change on legislation.
“Resources and available care options should be accessible to every patient,” Lisa says. “I’m grateful that COA has helped our practice guide patients through the care process and understand what is available to them.”
To learn about CPAN advocates and their commitment to protecting locally delivered cancer care, visit CPAN’s Advocates & Their Stories page.
Cancer News You Can Use
Triple-negative disease is a unique class of breast cancer because it lacks receptors that drug therapies can target for treatment, making it harder to treat than other types of breast cancers. With a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer, that meant the disease had spread beyond Kate Korson's breast to nearby lymph nodes or muscles. Korson told her doctors she wanted to participate in a clinical trial to give her the best shot of beating the disease and to also help other breast cancer patients. Doing so, she says, saved her life.
A new report from Susan G. Komen finds the high cost of breast cancer treatment is a significant burden for patients, so much so that it may actually be hurting the success of their treatment. While cancer is one of the most expensive conditions to treat in the United States, research has shown that breast cancer has the highest treatment cost of any cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the expenses are getting even more burdensome.
Cancer diagnoses increased in people under 50 from 2010 to 2019, with gastrointestinal cancers rising fastest, according to research published in JAMA Network Open in August 2023. The reason for the spike in colon and other types of cancer in young people is currently not known. But Lynch syndrome, a genetic mutation that increases the risk of a variety of cancers for young people, could be a factor in the growing rates of cancer in young people overall, experts say.
COMMUNITY ONCOLOGY 101 - A Good Idea Gone Bad: The 340B Drug Pricing Program
Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) play a critical role in community oncology. These extensively trained community oncology professionals serve as an important link between patients and their doctors. Learn more in this edition of Community Oncology 101.
Resources for Chapters
Cancer diagnosis rates are dropping because of skipped or delayed screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic—but it’s not too late to help your community get back to regular cancer screenings. Download the Time to Screen Advocacy Toolkit to get involved.