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MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE WHOLE PATIENT IN CANCER CARE


May 11, 2012

“MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE WHOLE PATIENT IN CANCER CARE”

Cancer Support Community and House Cancer Caucus
host Capitol Hill Briefing.

Washington, DC (May 8, 2012) The Cancer Support Community (CSC) and the House Cancer Caucus joined forces today on Capitol Hill to highlight the need for social and emotional support services for those touched by cancer.

The luncheon briefing entitled “Meeting the Needs of the Whole Patient in Cancer Care.” brought together representatives from the Institute of Medicine, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, leading researchers in the field and an ovarian cancer survivor, to discuss how the integration of psychosocial services into the medical standard of care in cancer not only improves patient outcomes and optimizes quality, but may also provide cost-savings to the healthcare system.

According to a 2007 IOM report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, screening cancer patients for psychosocial distress is essential in quality cancer care. While between one-third and one-half of all people with cancer have some level of distress, screening and follow-up is more the exception than the rule.

President and CEO of the Cancer Support Community, Kim Thiboldeaux, kicked off the briefing by noting that “We know that our services have been a lifeline to the thousands of cancer survivors across the country. CSC provides over $40 million in free emotional and social support that significantly improves the cancer experience for patients and their loved ones. We look forward to the day when patients in the U.S. receive care as an integrated part of their cancer treatment.”

One of the briefing’s speakers, Dr. Barbara L. Andersen of the Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University, noted that her studies show that psychosocial services allow patients to better manage their symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reduce their risk of recurrence.

Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), Co-Chair, House Cancer Caucus shared, “We have made tremendous progress in the fight against cancer, but we still have a long way to go. While we must continue to modernize our efforts at developing treatments and cures, we must also focus on mitigating both the physical and psychosocial effects of cancer treatments on the patient and his or her family. Far too often, treatment for cancer focuses exclusively on killing the cancer cells and we forget about the harsh effects of chemotherapy and the emotional toll of the disease.”


About the Cancer Support Community
The mission of the Cancer Support Community ("CSC") is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. In 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. The combined organization, with more than 50 years of collective experience, provides the highest quality social and emotional support for people impacted by cancer through a network of 56 licensed affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations, and a vibrant online community, touching more than one million people each year.

Backed by evidence that the best cancer care includes social and emotional support, the Cancer Support Community offers these services free of charge to men, women, and children with any type or stage of cancer, and to their loved ones. As the largest, professionally led, nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community delivers a comprehensive menu of personalized and essential services including support groups, educational workshops, exercise, art and nutrition classes, and social activities for the entire family. In 2011, CSC delivered more than $40 million in free services to patients and families. The Cancer Support Community is advancing the innovations that are becoming the standard in complete cancer
care.

For more information, visit www.CancerSupportCommunity.org.