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Treatment Workgroup

Treat All Cancer Patients by Using the Most Appropriate and Effective Therapy

Cancer treatment can entail surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other modalities. Cancer treatment varies by type of cancer, stage at diagnosis, age, general health and personal decision factors. Successful treatment involves a partnership between healthcare providers, patients and family/caregivers. Patients who fully understand their treatment program tend to experience greater satisfaction with their care and are more likely to complete treatment. When patients understand the nature and risks of their cancer diagnosis and potential risks and benefits of treatment, they can make informed decisions that are consistent with their personal preferences and values.

When cancer is found, a patient’s survival and quality of life can depend on the availability of timely, quality treatment. However, approximately 19% of adult Idahoans aged 18-64 do not have health insurance, which may reduce some cancer treatment options. Access to care may be further compromised by geographic barriers; Idaho is the 14th largest of the 50 United States and ranks 44th in population density. Other barriers, including those based on culture, language, age or socioeconomic status, may impact the quality of care received.

The accessibility, availability and quality of cancer treatment are broad and complicated issues, yet there are significant and identifiable areas where action can be taken, including:

  • Current programs and services of all types, from healthcare clinics to public health organizations, must collaborate to share information and best practices and to streamline service delivery.
  • Barriers must be reduced or eliminated.
  • A skilled workforce must be available to provide treatment to Idahoans in every part of the state.
  • Individuals living with cancer must be empowered to be active participants in their own care.
  • High quality research must be a consistent priority.

High quality cancer diagnostic results help inform all areas of patient care planning, including staging, treatment, palliation, rehabilitation and surveillance for late effects and recurrent disease. An accurate diagnosis can also determine if a patient’s family members are at higher risk for the disease, which calls for a more thorough family history and/or genetic testing so that a patient’s relatives may be referred to appropriate counseling, screening and follow-up services. Quality followup care is an essential component of the cancer prevention and control continuum.

Changes in detection and treatment methodologies, clinical recommendations and healthcare industry practices often present challenges in getting the best care to patients. Facilities accredited by the ACoS Commission on Cancer offer a full range of medical services along with a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care.

As of 2016, there are six CoC-accredited cancer programs in Idaho. Some essential elements of these programs include:

  • Access to state-of-the-art clinical services and equipment for all phases of the cancer prevention and control continuum: primary prevention, screening/early detection, diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation and support services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate patient care
  • Up-to-date clinical trials and treatment information for patients • A cancer registry and database that follows patients throughout life
  • Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of patient outcomes

CCAI Treatment Goals

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