SOURCE: LIVESTRONG Foundation

LIVESTRONG Foundation

June 06, 2013 08:30 ET

LIVESTRONG Foundation Joins the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum

Foundation's Research Director to Bring Voice of Patient and Identify Opportunities for Action in Cancer Policy

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Jun 6, 2013) - Dr. Ruth Rechis, a cancer survivor and the LIVESTRONG Foundation's director of research and evaluation, will be representing the organization as a member of the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum (NCPF). Rechis brings the personal perspective of an adolescent cancer survivor to this prestigious group and will work to address the gaps in care faced by adolescents and young adults with cancer. The NCPF, comprised of government, industry and academic stakeholders, convenes activities and discussions about high-priority cancer care and research policy issues. The NCPF also identifies opportunities for action to better prevent, treat and cure cancer. 

The NCPF provides Institute of Medicine (IOM) forums with a continuous focus on cancer policy and, as a member, Rechis and the LIVESTRONG Foundation will work to help plan formal IOM committee studies and determine areas of focus. Among the NCPF's upcoming activities is a workshop co-sponsored with the Foundation, titled Addressing the Needs of Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, being held July 15-16 in Washington, D.C. 

"I am thrilled that Dr. Rechis and the LIVESTRONG Foundation have been invited to represent the voices of people living with and affected by cancer today to participate in the critical policy discussions of the IOM's prestigious National Cancer Policy Forum," said Doug Ulman, President and CEO of the Foundation. "The Foundation looks forward to working together with all of NCPF's critical stakeholders to identify what will make the greatest impact on those navigating cancer now."

The Forum consists of governmental sponsors including the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and non-governmental sponsors including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Association of American Cancer Institutes, Bristol-Myers Squibb, C-Change, the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, Novartis and the Oncology Nursing Society.

"Dr. Rechis' expertise implementing research and programming to serve the needs of cancer patients, especially adolescents and young adults, will be a great asset to our National Cancer Policy Forum," said Dr. Patricia Ganz, vice-chair of the NCPF. "We're looking forward to having Dr. Rechis on the NCPF representing the perspective of cancer patients and survivors."

Rechis was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma when she was 15 years old. During her more than eight years at the Foundation, she has worked to establish the office of evaluation and research and helped to design, implement and evaluate numerous programs and resources designed to serve the needs of people currently affected by cancer. In her present role, Rechis and her team conduct intramural research, oversee extramural research projects, develop and implement strategic yearly evaluation plans and provide oversight to the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Centers of Excellence Network.

"I heard the worst personal health news of my life in my teen years. But I was fortunate to have both patient navigation and a treatment protocol that cured me, as well as expert survivorship planning that has guided me through the screenings and late effects I have experienced since," said Rechis. "I have made it my life's mission to help bring those benefits to others living with and beyond cancer, so I am deeply honored to now work in collaboration with the National Cancer Policy Forum to utilize my own and the LIVESTRONG Foundation's experience. There is so much more we can and should do to help improve the lives of all people affected by cancer now."

Adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer often fall into an underserved gap between the worlds of pediatric and adult oncology. Factors that impact survivorship in young adults include lack of insurance, less participation in clinical trials and delayed diagnoses. They also may face a variety of unique long-term effects that will need to be addressed over their lifetimes, such as reentry into school or the workforce, insurance coverage issues, infertility as a result of treatment, neurocognitive effects or secondary malignancies.

Understanding those needs, the LIVESTRONG Foundation is expanding its adolescent and young adult cancer work and is currently leading a study in collaboration with the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network directors to improve long-term health outcomes for cancer patients between the ages of 18 and 39. The research will test the impact of providing the essential elements of day-to-day survivorship care; provide evidence supporting long-term follow-up recommendations; determine effective methods of communication; and serve as a platform for interventions that will improve outcomes and quality of life in young adults.

About the LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation provides free cancer support services to help people cope with the financial, emotional and practical challenges that accompany the disease. Created in 1997 by cancer survivor and philanthropist Lance Armstrong, the Foundation is known for its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and for its advocacy on behalf of survivors and their families. With its iconic yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has served 2.5 million people affected by the disease and raised more than $500 million to support cancer survivors. One of America's top cancer non-profit organizations, the Foundation enjoys a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and has been recognized by the National Health Council and the Better Business Bureau for its excellent governance, high standards and transparency. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.

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