Advocacy and Policy

Advocacy and Policy

ONS advocates every day for oncology nurses. Our busy agenda in Washington, DC, calls for progress on

  • Improving cancer symptom management and palliative care
  • Advancing and ensuring access to quality cancer prevention and care
  • Strengthening nursing workforce contributions to safeguard public health. 

If you're an ONS member, you are a trusted voice in federal policy circles. Our members frequently testify before Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. They influence legislators who need to hear the input of cancer nursing professionals, and learn to partner with them during legislative action workshops hosted by ONS. 

Read the ONS health policy agenda for the second session of the 115th Congress. 

Stay Connected

  • Follow ONS’s Public Affairs Director Alec Stone on Twitter.
  • Follow ONS's Director of Government Affairs Dede Sweeney on Twitter.
  • Read our advocacy and health policy articles in the ONS Voice, our flagship news magazine.
  • Email Alec and ask to join the Capitol Connections list to get the latest in oncology policy news delivered straight to your inbox.

Latest News 

Follow health policy news happening around Capitol Hill, in your state, and across the country.

Aggresive Prostate Cancer Subtype More Common Than Expected

Nearly one-fifth of men with metastatic prostate cancer whose tumors were resistant to hormone therapy subsequently developed an aggressive prostate cancer subtype, a new study has shown. Men with this subtype, called treatment-emergent small-cell neuroendocrine prostate cancer (t-SCNC), appear to have shorter survival than men with other subtypes. The researchers also found genetic differences between t-SCNC and the adenocarcinoma subtype, which accounts for most prostate cancers at diagnosis.

Technique May Improve Detection of Breast Tumors

Researchers have been developing a new method for detecting breast cancer that may overcome the drawbacks of mammography. About 1 out of every 8 women nationwide will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. It is the second most common type of cancer to affect women. Detecting breast cancer as early as possible is crucial for increasing the chance of survival. However, many women avoid getting screened with the current breast cancer screening method, mammography.

NIH and Prostate Cancer Foundation Launch Large Study on Aggressive Prostate Cancer in African-American Men

The largest coordinated research effort to study biological and non-biological factors associated with aggressive prostate cancer in African-American men has begun. The $26.5 million study is called RESPOND, or Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Tumor Markers, and Social Stress. It will investigate environmental and genetic factors related to aggressiveness of prostate cancer in African-American men to better understand why they disproportionally experience aggressive disease—that is, disease that grows and spreads quickly—compared with men of other racial and ethnic groups.

ONS Comments on HHS Blueprint/RFI to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out of Pocket Costs

On behalf of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), we are pleased to provide comments on “American Patients First,” the HHS Blueprint and RFI to lower drugs prices and reduce out of pocket costs for Americans. Oncology nurses caring for patients with cancer witness first-hand the overwhelming financial stresses associated with paying for cancer treatments, including complex therapies and specialty prescription medications that can be prohibitively expensive.

Tobacco Product Standard for Nicotine Level of Combusted Cigarettes

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) appreciates the opportunity to provide our perspective on the FDA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to obtain information for consideration in developing a tobacco product standard to set the maximum nicotine level for cigarettes.

The Opioid Epidemic and Cancer Pain Management: A Conversation with Dr. Judith Paice

Pain is a common symptom in cancer patients. It can be caused by cancer, its treatments, or a combination of factors. Although some pain lasts a relatively short time and will resolve on its own, cancer or its treatments can also lead to long-lasting, chronic pain. Opioid medications are an important component of managing some types of unrelieved cancer pain. In this interview, Judith Paice, Ph.D., R.N., director of the Cancer Pain Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, discusses the impacts of the opioid epidemic and how providers can address concerns about opioid misuse when managing cancer pain.

Watching Cancer Cells Play Ball

From the NIH Director's Blog: As tumor cells divide and grow, they push, pull, and squeeze one another. While scientists have suspected those mechanical stresses may play important roles in cancer, it’s been tough to figure out how. That’s in large part because there hadn’t been a good way to measure those forces within a tissue. Now, there is. As described in Nature Communications, an NIH-funded research team has developed a technique for measuring those subtle mechanical forces in cancer and also during development.

NIH and VA Collaborate to Boost Veterans’ Access to Cancer Clinical Trials

Veterans with cancer who receive treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will now have easier access to clinical trials of novel cancer treatments, thanks to an agreement between VA and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NCI and VA Interagency Group to Accelerate Trials Enrollment, or NAVIGATE, which is launching at 12 VA facilities across the country, will enhance the ability of veterans to participate in trials carried out through NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Cancer Prevention Message Is Key for HPV Vaccination Discussions with Parents

Health care providers should emphasize cancer prevention when discussing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination with the parents of preteens who are due to receive the vaccine. That’s the conclusion of a new study that asked a diverse group of US parents what they felt are the most compelling reasons to get their children vaccinated. Certain types of HPV cause virtually all cervical cancers, as well as most anal cancers, many oropharyngeal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, and some penile cancers.

Nixon Signs National Cancer Act of 1971

NIH releases videos of President Richard Nixon signing the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

NExT: Advancing Promising Cancer Therapies from the Lab to Clinical Trials

From the NIH Cancer Currents Blog: At the intersection of the federal government and the private sector lies a unique program called the NCI Experimental Therapeutics (NExT) program. Although NCI operates the program, it runs very much like a small pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, working with external investigators and top scientific experts to advance promising or novel therapies from the earliest stages of research to human clinical trials.

Breast Cancer Treatments Tailored to Individuals

Advances in precision medicine are informing oncologists how best to treat patients with early-stage breast cancer. According to Dr. Nancy Davidson, president of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, senior vice president of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and professor of medicine at the University of Washington, the approach involves tailoring therapy to the characteristics of the patient and his or her tumor cells.

NIH-Funded Scientists Put Socioeconomic Data on the Map

The Neighborhood Atlas, a new tool to help researchers visualize socioeconomic data at the community level is now available. This online platform allows for easily ranking and mapping neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage. Seeing a neighborhood’s socioeconomic measures, such as income, education, employment and housing quality, may provide clues to the effects of those factors on overall health, and could inform health resources policy and social interventions.

ONS Statement Opposing DoJ Decision That Could Deny Pre-existing Conditions Patient Protections in ACA Law as Unconstitutional

ONS strongly opposes the recent decision by the Department of Justice (DoJ) not to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the lawsuit filed by Texas and 19 other states as it could undermine important health coverage protections for patients with cancer.

Can Immunotherapy Succeed in Glioblastoma?

From the NCI Cancer Research Blog: Cancer treatments that work by engaging the immune system to attack tumors have proven to be effective against a growing number of cancers. One notable exception thus far, however, has been brain cancer, including glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in adults.

The Imperative of Addressing Cancer Drug Costs and Value

The President’s Cancer Panel released its latest report to the White House and the public, Promoting Value, Affordability, and Innovation in Cancer Drug Treatment. The report recommends six critical actions to maximize the value and affordability of cancer drug treatment and to support investments in science and research that will drive future innovation.

Alternate Driver of Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer Identified

Researchers have identified an emerging subtype of metastatic prostate cancer that is resistant to therapies that block hormones that fuel the disease.

Assuming the Role of NCI Director: Working to Accelerate Progress

From NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless: I’m not sure anything can prepare a person to become director of the National Cancer Institute, but I can honestly say that I am humbled to have been appointed to this position and am excited to have this unique opportunity.

Creative Minds: A New Way to Look at Cancer

From the NIH Director's Blog: Inside our cells, strands of DNA wrap around spool-like histone proteins to form a DNA-histone complex called chromatin. Bradley Bernstein, a pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, and Broad Institute, has always been fascinated by this process.

NIH Launches New Partnership to Advance Cancer Immunotherapy

The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT) was launched today by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify, develop, and validate biomarkers and advance immunotherapy treatments. A collaboration under the Cancer Moonshot, PACT will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and includes commitments from 11 leading pharmaceutical companies.

Cancers Associated with Overweight and Obesity Make up 40 percent of Cancers Diagnosed in the United States

Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of 13 types of cancer. These cancers account for about 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NCI-Funded TMIST Study Compares 2-D and 3-D Mammography for Finding Breast Cancers

The Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST), the first randomized trial to compare two types of digital mammography for breast cancer screening, is now open for enrollment. The study was developed by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. ECOG-ACRIN is leading the trial.

New Toolkit Helps Nurses Use Genomics in Patient Care

Nurses and other health professionals looking to integrate genomics into patient care now have access to an online toolkit with more than 100 resources, part of a new website launched by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

FDA Approves First CAR-T Cell Therapy for Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

The Food and Drug Administration just announced its first approval of a promising type of immunotherapy called CAR-T cell therapy for kids and young adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)—the most common childhood cancer in the U.S.

NCI Study Identifies Essential Genes for Cancer Immunotherapy

A new study identifies genes that are necessary in cancer cells for immunotherapy to work, addressing the problem of why some tumors don’t respond to immunotherapy or respond initially but then stop as tumor cells develop resistance to immunotherapy.

Improving Cancer Control in Rural Communities

Two new studies are putting a spotlight on disparities that have received less attention: those in rural communities across the country. The studies—one by NCI researchers (on which I’m a co-author) and one led by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—found that cancer death rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The CDC study also showed that, although cancer deaths rates are decreasing in rural areas, they are doing so more slowly than they are in urban areas.

NCI Study Shows Feasibility of Cancer Screening Protocol for Patients With Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

In a new study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, researchers found a higher than expected prevalence of cancer at baseline screening in individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a rare inherited disorder that leads to a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The research demonstrates the feasibility of a new, comprehensive cancer screening protocol for this high-risk population.

NCI-COG Pediatric MATCH Trial to Test Targeted Drugs in Childhood Cancers

Investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) announced the opening of enrollment for a unique precision medicine clinical trial. NCI-COG Pediatric Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (Pediatric MATCH) is a nationwide trial to explore whether targeted therapies can be effective for children and adolescents with solid tumors that harbor specific genetic mutations and have progressed during or after standard therapy. Pediatric MATCH will incorporate more than eight different study drugs, each targeting a predefined set of genetic mutations, to match patients with therapies aimed at the molecular abnormalities in their tumors.

Social Interaction Affects Cancer Patients’ Response to Treatment

How well cancer patients fared after chemotherapy was affected by their social interaction with other patients during treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Cancer patients were a little more likely to survive for five years or more after chemotherapy if they interacted during chemotherapy with other patients who also survived for five years or more.

Moving Inventions and Ideas from the Lab to Patients: An Interview with Dr. Michael Salgaller

In this interview, Michael Salgaller, Ph.D., who leads the TTC’s Invention Development and Marketing Unit, discusses the center’s efforts to move new technologies developed by NCI and other NIH scientists from the lab to the patient’s bedside.

ONS and 32 Cancer-Related Organizations Oppose Senate's BCRA

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) joined 32 cancer-related patient advocacy and professional organizations in opposition to the Senate’s revised Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Precision Oncology: Gene Changes Predict Immunotherapy Response

There’s been tremendous excitement in the cancer community recently about the life-saving potential of immunotherapy. In this treatment strategy, a patient’s own immune system is enlisted to control and, in some cases, even cure the cancer. But despite many dramatic stories of response, immunotherapy doesn’t work for everyone. A major challenge has been figuring out how to identify with greater precision which patients are most likely to benefit from this new approach, and how to use that information to develop strategies to expand immunotherapy’s potential.

Study Estimates Number of U.S. Women Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer

A new study shows that the number of women in the United States living with distant metastatic breast cancer (MBC), the most severe form of the disease, is growing. Researchers came to this finding by estimating the number of U.S. women living with MBC, or breast cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body, including women who were initially diagnosed with metastatic disease, and those who developed MBC after an initial diagnosis at an earlier stage.

FDA-Approved Drug Helps Treat Rare Immunologic Disease, Study Finds

Adding the injectable drug mepolizumab to standard treatment for eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), a rare immunologic disease, significantly improved clinical outcomes among participants in an advanced clinical trial, scientists report.

Random Mutations Play Major Role in Cancer

A new study claims that the reason why many people get cancer is simply just bad luck. The NIH Director weighed in on these claims. 

ONS Statement on H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017

ONS urges Congress to oppose the American Health Care Act of 2017 in its current form. ONS believes that any federal healthcare law should include

  • The provision of comprehensive healthcare coverage with respect to cancer prevention, cancer risk assessment, risk reduction services, genetic counseling, genetic predisposition testing, early detection, and screening procedures is available to everyone through continuous health insurance coverage, irrespective of personal or family health history or preexisting conditions,
  • The provision of accessible and affordable health care coverage includes consumer and patient engagement in decision making regarding availability, cost, and efficacy of treatment options and supportive care, and
  • Evidence-based conventional and integrative therapies, comprehensive symptom management, palliative care, psychosocial care, and survivorship are options for every patient with cancer.

Read ONS's full statement


Researchers Use CRISPR Gene-Editing Tool to Help Turn Immune Cells Against Tumors

Using a new tool for editing genomes, known as CRISPR, researchers have genetically engineered immune cells and improved the ability of these cells to kill cancer cells in mice.

Being African-American and Surviving Cancer: Helping to Find Answers

One woman participated in a pilot study that looked into why African-Americans get most types of cancers, like my lung cancer, at higher rates than other racial and ethnic populations and experience poorer survival rates. Here is her first-person account

Study Shows Platelets Can Deliver Immunotherapy, Reduce Tumor Regrowth

A new study suggests that blood platelets engineered to deliver an immunotherapy drug may effectively eliminate cancer cells missed by surgery and prevent them from forming new tumors.

NCI Launches Study of African-American Cancer Survivors

The Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) study, which will include 5,560 cancer survivors, will support a broad research agenda looking at the major factors affecting cancer progression, recurrence, mortality, and quality of life among African-American cancer survivors.

Three-Drug Combination Extends Survival for Patients with Multiple Myeloma

For newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma who plan to delay autologous stem cell transplantation, adding the targeted therapy bortezomib (Velcade®) to a two-drug therapy improves how long they live compared with the doublet therapy alone, a new study has shown.

FDA Approves Rucaparib for BRCA-Positive Ovarian Cancer

On December 19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for rucaparib (Rubraca™) to treat some women with advanced ovarian cancer. The drug is approved for women whose cancers have progressed despite treatment with two or more chemotherapies and whose tumors have a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, as identified by an FDA-approved companion diagnostic test.

Study Finds No Safe Level of Smoking

Many Americans who’ve smoked cigarettes have been successful in their efforts to quit. But there’s some bad news for those who’ve settled for just cutting back: new evidence shows there’s no safe amount of smoking. One cigarette a day, or even less than that, still poses significant risks to your health.

Single Tumor Cells Reveal Clues to Biology of Multiple Myeloma

Individual tumor cells circulating in the blood of patients with multiple myeloma may be a new source of information about the genetic changes driving the disease, according to the results of a pilot study.

Cellular Immunotherapy Targets a Common Human Cancer Mutation

In a study of an immune therapy for colorectal cancer that involved a single patient, a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) identified a method for targeting the cancer-causing protein produced by a mutant form of the KRAS gene. This targeted immunotherapy led to cancer regression in the patient in the study.

No Safe Level of Smoking: Even Low-Intensity Smokers Are at Increased Risk of Earlier Death

People who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day over their lifetime had a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death than never smokers, and those who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes a day had an 87 percent higher risk of earlier death than never smokers, according to a new study from researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Precision Oncology: Epigenetic Patterns Predict Glioblastoma Outcomes

An NIH-funded research team recently published in Nature Communications the most complete portrait to date of the epigenetic patterns characteristic of the glioblastoma genome. Among their findings were patterns associated with how long patients survived after the cancer was detected.

Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life in Cancer Patients

Patients who received palliative care during a bone marrow transplant reported a better quality of life and reduced symptoms during hospitalization.

CDC Updates Recommendations on HPV Vaccine

Adolescents younger than age 15 need only two doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, given at least 6 months apart, instead of three doses, according to new recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Find Clinical Trials in Your Community - NCI Community Oncology Research Program

The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions, and other organizations. NCORP conducts multi-site cancer clinical trials and studies in diverse populations in community-based healthcare systems across the United States and Puerto Rico. More info here.

Create a Clinical Trials Network Devoted Exclusively to Immunotherapy

Establish a cancer immunotherapy clinical trials network devoted exclusively to discovering and evaluating immunotherapy approaches with help from this NCI video

Seven substances added to 14th Report on Carcinogens

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 14th Report on Carcinogens includes seven newly reviewed substances, bringing the cumulative total to 248 listings. The Report on Carcinogens is a congressionally mandated report prepared for the HHS Secretary by NTP. The report identifies many different types of environmental factors, collectively called substances, including chemicals; infectious agents, such as viruses; physical agents, such as X-rays and ultraviolet radiation; mixtures of chemicals; and exposure scenarios in two categories—known to be a human carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Tumor DNA in Blood May Signal Response to T-Cell Transfer Immunotherapy

A pilot study by NCI researchers suggests that tumor DNA circulating in the blood of patients with cancer might be a biological marker for determining, soon after the treatment has started, whether a form of immunotherapy is likely to work for a given patient.

FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for Head and Neck Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) on August 5 for the treatment of some patients with an advanced form of head and neck cancer. The approval is for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) that has continued to progress despite standard-of-care treatment with chemotherapy.

CMS Releases New Prescription Drug Cost Data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) released privacy-protected data on the prescription drugs that were paid for under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program in 2014. This is the second release of the data on an annual basis, which shows which prescription drugs were prescribed to Medicare Part D enrollees by physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Survey Shows Broad Support for National Precision Medicine Study

In a recent survey designed to measure public attitudes about the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program, a majority of respondents expressed willingness to participate in the nationwide research effort. The findings were published online in PLOS ONE by a team of National Institutes of Health researchers.

CA-125 Testing, CT Scans Still Used for Ovarian Cancer Surveillance Despite Lack of Proven Benefit

Despite evidence of no benefit from a 2009 randomized clinical trial, a new study shows that doctors appear to still routinely use the CA-125 blood test to monitor women for recurrent ovarian cancer. The findings, published July 21 in JAMA Oncology, also suggest that computed tomography (CT) scans continue to be routinely used to check for recurrences even though clinical practice guidelines discourage this practice.

Adolescents Who Wouldn’t Have Smoked May Be Drawn to E-Cigarettes

Some adolescents who otherwise would never have smoked are using e-cigarettes, according to a study published July 11 in the journal Pediatrics. The findings suggest that adolescents are not just using e-cigarettes as a substitute for conventional cigarettes but that e-cigarettes are attracting new users to tobacco products.

How Breast Cancers Resist Chemotherapy

Together, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 20-25% of hereditary breast cancers and 5-10% of all breast cancers. Mutations in these genes also increase the risk of ovarian and other types of cancer. A team of researchers led by Drs. Andre Nussenzweig and Shyam Sharan at NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) examined the roles of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in DNA replication, the process by which the cell copies DNA strands in preparation for cell division. 

Mutations Linked to Immunotherapy Resistance

For many patients with melanoma whose tumors shrink after treatment with checkpoint inhibitors—a class of immunotherapy drugs—their tumors eventually grow back despite continued treatment. A new NIH study has identified genetic mechanisms that may be responsible for this acquired treatment resistance in at least some of these patients.

DNA Repair Factor Linked to Breast Cancer May Also Play a Role in Alzheimer Disease

An NIH-funded study shows that certain forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) that are already associated with breast and ovarian cancers are now seen to be connected to Alzheimer disease. The finding indicates “that beta-amyloid decreases the levels of the DNA repair gene BRCA1, and at the same time inhibits the ability to form new memories,” said Roderick Corriveau, PhD, program director at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which provided funding for the study.

Creative Minds: Fighting Cancer With Supercomputers

Supercomputing has also entered a new dimension of speed, and tomorrow’s machines will leave them in the dust. President Obama signed an executive order in July to launch the National Strategic Computing Initiative, which has the goal of pushing supercomputing to the exascale, or 30 times faster than today’s fastest machines, by 2025. The National Institues of Health (NIH) is part of the team that aims to make this a reality. Find out more about how the NIH is using technology to fight cancer.

NIH Scientists Take on Daunting Yet Rewarding Task of Finding Treatments and Cures for Pancreatic Cancer

National Institues of Health (NIH) scientists are working to overcome challenges to find treatments and cures for pancreatic cancer. Although it's daunting work, their labor comes with ultimate breakthroughs in research to help patients. Watch a video regarding their work here.

New NIH Breast Cancer Study to Focus on Risk Factors and Prevention

The National Institues of Health (NIH) announced a new phase of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), focused on prevention, working across scientific disciplines, and involving new racially and ethnically diverse communities. The focus of the study will be on risk factors that precede breast cancer, such as breast density. This broadened research focus will add to the growing knowledge of environmental and genetic factors that may influence breast cancer risk across the lifespan. Visit the NIH for more information on this study. 

CDC Provides Information on Prostate Cancer as a Continuous Public Health Awareness Campaign

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them. Learn about prostate cancer and talk to your healthcare provider before you decide to get tested or treated. To read more about the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options, visit here.

NIH Offers Information About Using Genetic Sequencing to Manage Cancer in Children

More than 10,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed among children from birth to 14 years of age in the United States this year. More than 1,000 children will die from cancer in 2015, making it the leading cause of death from disease among children. A research team led by Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan at the University of Michigan started a program in 2012 to examine the feasibility of including clinical sequencing information in the care of young patients with cancer. Their goal is to tailor treatment based on the genetic features of a person’s cancer. To read about this research and learn more about “precision medicine”, visit here.

Cancer Metastasis: Trying to Catch the Culprits Earlier

For many people diagnosed with cancer localized to the breast, prostate, or another organ, the outlook after treatment is really quite good. Still, most require follow-up testing because there remains a risk of the cancer recurring, particularly in the first 5 years after a tumor is removed. Catching recurrence at an early, treatable stage can be difficult because even a small number of new or “leftover” tumor cells have the ability to enter the bloodstream or lymphatics and silently spread from the original tumor site and into the lung, brain, liver, and other vital organs—the dangerous process of metastasis. What if there was a way to sound the alarm much earlier—to detect tumor cells just as they are starting to spread? Find out more here.

Are Tobacco Companies Marketing Electronic Cigarettes to Children and Adolescents?

Electronic cigarettes—also called e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems—are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine in vapor. These devices heat a liquid solution of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals to produce an aerosol that the user inhales, a process called “vaping.” They are often promoted as safer alternatives to cigarettes and other traditional combustible tobacco products. But while e-cigarettes can deliver nicotine with less of the chemicals known to cause cancer, their health effects haven’t been well studied. E-cigarettes are marketed in ways that can appeal to nonsmokers, especially children and adolescents. Find out more about the research and the marketing efforts here

New Legislation Affects Medicare Payment Models

In March, the U.S. Congress unveiled legislation to repeal and replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate schedule, providing for structural reforms of the payment model. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 2) will also extend certain Medicare programs and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which may assist some pediatric patients with cancer. Read the important takeaways for oncology nurses.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Announce a New Model for Cancer Care

On February 12, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new multi-payer and care delivery model for cancer care. Read our summary.