New Breast Cancer Survivor Research Underscores Need for Quality Measures
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The ONS Foundation and the Cancer Support Community (CSC) are advancing the understanding of the needs of, and treatment for, breast cancer survivors through two multi-year projects, both funded by The Breast Cancer Fund of National Philanthropic Trust starting in 2009. The CSC’s Breast Cancer M.A.P. (Mind Affects the Physical) Project and the Breast Cancer Survivorship (BCS) Quality Measures, developed by the ONS Foundation and ONS members and staff, highlight the critical need for the timely and ongoing assessment and management of psychosocial distress in breast cancer survivors.
The CSC released M.A.P. Project findings from more than 1,000 breast cancer survivors in October showing that most cancer survivors experience psychosocial distress that is often overlooked. The CSC findings suggest the need to begin screening for distress at the moment of diagnosis to improve health outcomes for survivors. The full Index is accessible by visiting www.cancersupportcommunity.org/BreastCancerMAP.
“While the growing cancer survivor population is reason to cheer, our research shows the cancer community needs to better understand and treat the social and emotional needs of survivors,” said Joanne S. Buzaglo, PhD, Senior Director of the Research and Training Institute at Cancer Support Community. “By combining CSC’s research and the voice of the survivor with ONS’s new quality measures and treatment guidelines, together we are putting these insights into action to ensure patients are receiving the full spectrum of cancer care.” Oncology nurses are at the frontline of providing patient-centered quality care for people with cancer. The ONS Foundation project used the ONS-developed “Putting Evidence into Practice (ONS PEP)” summaries of research evidence for interventions for depression and anxiety (psychosocial distress), sleep-wake disturbances and fatigue to develop the BCS quality measures. These nationally tested measures will be used by cancer care providers to determine how consistently survivors are assessed for these problems and if evidence-based interventions are recommended. The ONS Foundation developed and tested the Breast Cancer Care (BCC) Quality Measures exploring care practices among patients in active treatment at 40 practice sites in 2010, and is currently launching similar testing of the BCS Quality Measure set focused on the care of survivors in the 12 months immediately after completion of treatment. The ONS Foundation Breast Cancer Quality Measures will be available for practices to use as they work to improve the quality of care for breast cancer survivors during and after the cancer treatment experience.
“The synergy of these two projects – one to determine survivor psychosocial concerns and one to develop and test quality measures for providers to determine how well they are assessing and intervening for these psychosocial concerns provides many opportunities to improve the quality of care for breast cancer survivors,” said Gail Mallory, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, director of research at ONS and a member of the CSC MAP Project Advisory Council.
The ONS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization improving the lives of people with cancer by funding oncology nursing research, scholarships, awards, and education programs. Since 1981, the ONS Foundation has provided more than $22 million to fund local and national oncology nursing education, research to advance oncology nursing science, and leadership opportunities. Learn more at www.onsfoundation.org.
The Cancer Support Community offers emotional and social support services to all people affected by cancer. For more information on the organization’s resources and ongoing initiatives, visit www.cancersupportcommunity.org.