Cancer is a complex and multifaceted disease, with numerous subtypes and variants that require specialized knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat effectively. Employers are turning to remote second-opinion services for oncology because they recognize the importance of providing their employees with access to high-quality oncology expertise and support to ensure optimal health outcomes.
The cancer knowledge gap and outcome gap are widening
Knowledge about cancer across all sites is advancing faster than any one oncologist can keep up with, especially if they're treating different types of cancers every day. Medical knowledge used to double every 50 years, today it doubles every 73 days. In fact, it is more challenging for the cancer patient and treating oncologist today because there is more information and varied paths to treatment. That knowledge gap can lead to patients receiving less-effective courses of treatment, being overtreated and incurring unnecessary costs.
By contrast, subspecialists at NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers specialize in one specific cancer type or subtype. This enables them to keep up with the latest advancements in their area of expertise and know of the newest personalized treatments in greater depth. More than that, many of the physicians at NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are active in research that is defining new best practices in approaches such as precision medicine, targeted treatments, and immunotherapy.
Geography is a common barrier to accessing the best in cancer care
Though cancer research and innovations are developing at an extraordinary pace, the reality is that care experiences and health outcomes continue to vary greatly—often based on geography. Published studies show that clear health disparities exist, in which patients’ survival rates are impacted by distance from a leading academic cancer center. Yet only 20% of the U.S. population has access to one of these 53 NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. This underscores the importance and opportunity for collaboration between community and academic medicine—ensuring more people are able to benefit from specialized cancer expertise.
Supporting your employees’ mental health during a cancer journey
It comes as no surprise that the shock of a cancer diagnosis, and the realities of dealing with cancer and its treatment, can have serious repercussions for patients’ mental health and well-being. Major depression affects approximately 15% to 25% and anxiety affects about 44% of people with cancer, equally impacting men and women as well as their families.
It’s important to recognize the diverse mental and emotional support required for individuals with cancer which are unique for each person and can vary depending on diagnosis, treatment plan, and personal circumstances.
Ensuring an optimal treatment path
Access to oncology subspecialty expertise from NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers can provide numerous important benefits:
- Expert insight can aid in avoiding unnecessary treatments.
- Because subspecialists are familiar with the latest advances in genomic testing for cancer, they can ensure that patients receive the correct genetic testing to identify the options for cancer treatment that will be most effective based on their personal history and cancer type.
- NCI specialists equipped with the latest knowledge in cancer diagnosis and treatment play a crucial role in ensuring patients receive the most effective care possible, leading to a change in diagnosis for 43% of patients.
How does AccessHope contribute?
AccessHope believes in providing access to leading cancer expertise and support, regardless of geographical location. By facilitating remote expert case reviews, AccessHope connects individuals and their treating oncologists with expertise from NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, ensuring personalized guidance for the most effective treatment plan. This approach not only alleviates distress and minimizes avoidable costs for employees but also addresses the increasing burden of cancer-related healthcare expenses, which currently account for 12% of employers’ healthcare costs. Additionally, AccessHope’s remote cancer expertise extends beyond expert clinical decision-making, delivering compassionate support through our Cancer Support Team to help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with cancer.
Through innovative cancer benefits like AccessHope, employers can provide unparalleled support to employees and their oncologists across the United States to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people with cancer, leveling health disparities while patients stay close to home.