SOURCE: Association of Community Cancer Centers

Association of Community Cancer Centers

March 31, 2010 14:44 ET

Association of Community Cancer Centers to Study Challenges in Treating Small-Population Cancers in the Community Setting

Landmark Project Will Document Best Practices in Care for Patients With Small-Population Cancers

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - March 31, 2010) -  The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has launched a ground-breaking program to provide community-based cancer care providers the tools they need to improve the quality of care for patients with small-population cancers, such as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

"Caring for patients with less common cancers presents unique challenges for community-based cancer care providers," said ACCC President Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP. "Physicians treating small-population cancers have limited time and resources to incorporate emerging clinical data into practice. Other health professionals, including nurses, social workers, and pharmacists, see these diseases less frequently and need information to better support the physician and the patient."

ACCC surveys revealed that many community-based cancer care providers see a relatively high number of patients with breast, lung, colon, or prostate cancer. Practice patterns are relatively well-established for these cancers and resources are available for both providers and patients. Patients with a small-population cancer, however, usually are underserved or elderly and may not have the resources or desire to be treated far away from their homes.

ACCC's first objective will be to raise awareness among the public and healthcare providers about the challenges presented by small-population cancers and the need to assess barriers to treatment and best practices within the community setting. Barriers include limited physician and cancer team knowledge of emerging data, difficulties in incorporating new clinical information into practice, and inadequate managerial and administrative processes in treating small-population cancers like CML.

The project is made possible by an educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals and will take about two years to complete.

"We appreciate Novartis' commitment to community-based cancer care," said Christian Downs, JD, MHA, Executive Director of ACCC. "At its completion, we see this project giving providers information, tools, and resources necessary to improve patient care. CML is an ideal proxy for the study of small-population cancers because of the number of patients diagnosed each year and the fact that there have been exciting clinical data and information about monitoring patients from the 2009 American Society of Hematology meeting."

ACCC will launch a comprehensive online resource that will include community-provider-specific information about how to design a program to best serve patients with small-population cancers, as well as clinical news and non-clinical resources for specific small-population cancers. Results will be presented at ACCC meetings and in its journal, Oncology Issues.

Since 1974, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has served as the leading national multidisciplinary organization that sets the standard for quality care for patients with cancer. ACCC is dedicated to promoting professional learning opportunities and to providing a forum for members to network and enhance their skills in the business, clinical and management aspects of care for the cancer community. Nearly 17,000 cancer care professionals from approximately 900 hospitals and more than 1,200 private practices are affiliated with ACCC. Our unique membership includes all members of the cancer care team: medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, cancer program administrators and medical directors, pharmacists, oncology nurses, oncology social workers, and cancer program data managers. For more information, visit ACCC's website at Follow us on Facebook and on ACCCBuzz, ACCC's online blog,