New report says health systems are key to improving cancer outcomes in the United States
According to the latest chapter in the Society's Blueprint for Cancer Control in the 21st Century, without a national investment and commitment to transforming health care delivery in the U.S., many people will not benefit from the substantial progress in reducing the burden of cancer already made, let alone the innovations and breakthroughs that are yet to come.
The article is the fifth in a series comprising a cancer control blueprint to identify opportunities for improving cancer control in the U.S. The latest chapter, authored by Robin Yabroff, PhD, (pictured here) and colleagues, describes the state of cancer care delivery in the U.S.; provides an overview of its health care systems; and identifies goals for a high-performing health care system. It appears in the American Cancer Society Journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Between 1991 and 2015, the cancer mortality rate declined dramatically in the United States, reflecting improvements in cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and survivorship care. However, cancer outcomes in the United States vary substantially between populations defined by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health insurance coverage, and geographic area of residence.
Many potentially preventable cancer deaths occur in individuals who did not receive effective cancer prevention, screening, treatment, or survivorship care. At the same time, cancer care spending is large and growing, straining national, state, health insurance plans, and family budgets.
The article focuses on the role of health systems in helping ensure that all populations benefit from scientific research that has identified proven tools to reduce the cancer burden. The article identifies goals for a high-performing health system:
Facilitate adoption of healthy lifestyles
Provide access to a regular source of primary care
Provide timely access to high-quality, evidence-based care
Be affordable for patients, payers, and society
Promote patient-centeredness, including effective patient-provider communication
Enhance coordination and communication between providers, including primary care and specialty care providers.
No American should develop cancer, suffer needlessly, or die prematurely because they cannot access the care they need," write the authors. "[M]uch is already known about how to reduce the burden of cancer, but without a national investment and commitment to transforming our health care systems, many people will not benefit from the progress we have already made, let alone the innovations and breakthroughs that are yet to come."
For more information about this chapter and our Blueprint for Cancer Control in the 21st Century, please see the resource list, below. Subsequent Blueprint chapters will focus on treatment and research and will be released in the coming months.
Blueprint resources for volunteers: