The cost of cancer treatment has risen approximately 600 percent over the past 30 years, according to Emanuel. From the patient-centric perspective of CSC and the Cancer Policy Institute, more comprehensive health coverage could benefit cancer patients several ways, including financially. When patients are more aware of their health care options, they can choose more cost-effective treatments, share decision-making processes with their doctors and have a better overall treatment experience, Emanuel said.
"We need to figure out how to change how we are delivering care," Emanuel said. "No person should go through cancer alone, and no person should go through an uncoordinated, disjointed system where they are suffering from cancer, have to do all the running around and do all the navigation themselves."
CSC's public policy efforts will continue "so that no one faces cancer alone," according to Institute supporters. "It's absolutely needed, and it's something that our patients and volunteers very much want," said Dick Woodruff, vice president of federal relations and strategic alliances for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "ACS CAN currently has two bills pending in the House specifically related to improving patient quality of life through the provision of wider access to palliative care, throughout all health care settings, so it's not only something we fully support, but it's something we are actively working on as well."
Last week alone, CSC affiliates had more than 50 scheduled meetings with Capitol Hill representatives regarding health care policy changes stemming from the launch of the Cancer Policy Institute. "There is a lot yet to do to make change and improve cancer care in America, and we are fully committed to putting all our resources, energy and passion behind it," Thiboldeaux said. "We are very excited to move forward with these issues."