Cancer Care in the U.S.

May 28, 2014
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN , FAAN

Key findings and recommendations from ASCO.

In March 2014, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released its first-ever report on the state of cancer care in the U.S. The report, The State of Cancer Care in America: 2014, is available online at http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/10/2/119.full.

ASCO notes that by 2030, the number of new cancer cases in the U.S. will increase by 45%, and cancer will become the nation's leading cause of death, largely as a result of the aging of the nation's population. At the same time, the number of cancer survivors, now at 13.7 million, will continue to grow and will require on-going care and monitoring.

The key findings stated in the report include the fact that millions of people with cancer lack access to quality care, the cost of cancer continues to rise, the oncology workforce is aging and the demand for providers will exceed supply, the median size of group practices has increased to 15 physicians per practice, there is increasing economic pressure on smaller practices, the quality of oncology care remains inconsistent.

Recommendations include addressing the size and diversity of the oncology workforce, implementing strategies to prevent provider burnout, payers should align payment systems with the delivery of high-value care, disparities in access must be removed (including insurance-related disparities), improve quality monitoring, adopting electronic medical records and information technology, implement an improved system for drug pricing and responding to drug shortages, increase oncology services in rural areas, and increasing the use of advanced practice providers (e.g. ANPs, NPs, PAs).