CoC Brief
Dec. 25, 2013

Cancer clinics are turning away Medicare patients — blame the sequester
The Washington Post
From April 10: Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts. Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.More

Recommendations from ACS, CoC and Choosing Wisely®
ACS
From Sept. 4: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Commission on Cancer (CoC) recently released separate lists of specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in surgery and surgical oncology as part of the Choosing Wisely® campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation. The list from each organization identifies five targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations between patients and physicians about what care is really necessary.

More information on the recommendations and the Choosing Wisely® campaign can be found here.

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How patient navigation can cut costs and save lives
Bloomberg
From March 27: "Mary," a patient at MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio was not sure how to move forward when her throat cancer recurred after radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Her options were narrowing, and there was a point at which she considered not moving forward at all with treatment. But then Mary decided to contact a patient navigator for help, and what started as a counseling call became a new lifeline.More

New ovarian cancer screening test offers hope for early detection
Live Science via Fox News
From Aug. 28: A new test to screen for ovarian cancer appears to detect the disease in early stages, and, if confirmed in clinical trials, the test could become a routine screening for women. In the study, researchers tested the strategy on more than 4,000 women over an 11-year period. The women underwent yearly blood tests, and the researchers recorded the levels of a protein called CA-125, which is produced by the majority of ovarian tumors.More

After 30 years of overdiagnosis, scientists want to redefine cancer
Medical Daily
From July 31: Who would have thought that advances in medical technology could potentially lead to unnecessary diagnoses and detrimental treatment plans? In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute held a meeting to evaluate the problem of cancer overdiagnosis, which occurs when harmless tumors are detected and treated as rigorously as harmful ones are, often leading to the demise or injury or patients.More

79 cancer care facilities receive national achievement award from American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
From April 24: The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons has granted its 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award to a select group of 79 accredited cancer programs throughout the United States. Award criteria were based on qualitative and quantitative surveys conducted last year.More

LIVESTRONG Foundation seeks to automate cancer tool
iHealthBeat
From June 12: The LIVESTRONG Foundation has released a report that shows high user satisfaction with an online tool to help cancer survivors receive posttreatment care plans, and the foundation is launching a study into whether electronic health record data can help streamline the tool.More

New study finds overall hospital quality performance differs when comparing cancer operations with noncancer operations
American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program
From July 24: New research findings released recently at the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program National Conference in San Diego, Calif., show that hospital quality measurement specific to cancer versus noncancer care provides a more accurate assessment of a hospital's overall quality performance.More

Agent Orange tied to aggressive prostate cancer risk
Reuters
From May 15: Men who were exposed to Agent Orange chemicals used during the Vietnam War are at higher risk for life-threatening prostate cancer than unexposed veterans, researchers have found. What's more, those who served where the herbicide was used were diagnosed with cancer about five years earlier than other men, on average, in the new study."This is a very, very strong predictor of lethal cancer," said urologist Dr. Mark Garzotto, who worked on the study at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon.More

Two DC hospitals vie to establish costly cancer treatment option
The Washington Post
From April 10: Two of the region's largest hospital systems are competing to offer a controversial cancer treatment — joining what critics say is a nationwide medical arms race as hospitals scramble for dominance by investing millions of dollars in technology that has not been proven to be better than cheaper alternatives for some cancers.More

Researchers discuss overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer
HealthDay News
From Sept. 4: The increasing incidence of small and indolent thyroid cancer and stable mortality rates suggest overdiagnosis, according to an analysis published online in BMJ. Noting that thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy and one of the fastest growing diagnoses, Juan P. Brito, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues discuss the impact of the introduction of neck ultrasonography into routine endocrinological practice in the 1980s and increased use of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.More