Q: Why is NCI conducting the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program pilot?
A: Evidence from a wide range of studies suggests that cancer patients diagnosed and treated in a setting of multi-specialty care and clinical research may live longer and have a better quality of life. The NCCCP pilot will offer more Americans access to research-based cancer care by affiliating with the hospitals and clinics where most cancer patients already receive care. The pilot will make it easier to receive high-quality cancer screening, prevention, treatment and palliative care services. This is expected to improve treatment outcomes for more Americans.
Q: Why is NCI expanding its programs into the community?
A: NCI estimates that 85 percent of cancer patients in the United States are diagnosed at hospitals in or near the communities in which they live. The other 15 percent are diagnosed at NCI-designated Cancer Centers, a network of 63 academic research institutions located in largely urban areas across the country.
Many patients are not treated at the major cancer centers because of the distance from their homes, or for other personal or economic reasons. The NCCCP pilot will extend NCI programs into local communities, giving patients easier access to clinical research and advanced care.
Q: What are the goals of the NCCCP pilot?
1) Expand clinical trials.
2) Reduce cancer healthcare disparities.
3) Collect, store and share blood and tissue samples needed for research.
4) Explore the utility of a national database of electronic medical records.
Q: How does the NCCCP pilot compare to other NCI community cancer initiatives?
A: The NCCCP shares many of the same goals as other NCI community cancer programs, including increasing access to clinical trials among underserved populations and reducing health disparities. The NCCCP is unique in that it will operate in community hospitals in geographically diverse areas where NCI can learn directly from the communities it serves.
Q: What are the expected benefits to patients at the LCRP as well as the Savannah region as a whole?
A: The sites will provide patients with comprehensive cancer screening, prevention, treatment and palliative care. Patients diagnosed with cancer will receive medical, surgical and radiation oncology services and will have access to NCI-sponsored clinical trials. In addition, NCI-trained patient navigators will assist patients in arranging financial support, scheduling transportation services, coordinating records transfers and facilitating access to other services.
The pilot is expected to improve quality of care at the sites by enhancing clinical research expertise. Added benefits of the pilot site include staff training in cancer management, stronger links to NCI-designated Cancer Centers, genetic and molecular testing capabilities, and local outreach support to develop closer ties to underserved members of the Savannah region.
Q: Why was the LCRP and St. Joseph’s/Candler chosen?
A: Through the coordinated, dedicated volunteer efforts of physicians and St. Joseph’s/Candler administrators—particularly Nancy Johnson, administrator of the LCRP—St. Joseph’s/Candler has cultivated a strong relationship with the NCI for many years. Additionally, while the national competition to earn this selection was considerable, the LCRP demonstrates a competitive advantage with its commitment to supporting quality cancer care initiatives like:
Multidisciplinary team approach via dedicated multidisciplinary cancer teams
Past collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Coalition
Partnership with the Medical College of Georgia
Partnership with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute
Expertise in electronic medical records
Numerous community outreach efforts
Q: What are the qualifications of the pilot sites and how will they be evaluated?
A: The pilot sites are community hospital-based cancer centers that offer medical, surgical and radiation oncology care; manage a patient volume of more than 1,000 new cancer cases each year; enroll patients in clinical trials; and take part in outreach to underserved populations. An independent committee will evaluate the pilot sites on an ongoing basis, and NCI will use recommendations to refine the program and open the way for a national network of community cancer centers in the future.