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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Let’s face it. It can be easy to feel disconnected from the government. Sometimes you may feel like your voice isn’t important. But luckily, for the 13.7 million people in the United States impacted by cancer, that’s not the case. Your voice is VERY important! What many Americans don’t realize is that they have the power to not only make their voice heard, but also to be an advocate for people impacted by cancer.

Senate leaders recently published a report entitled Innovation for Healthier Americans which was the first step in identifying opportunities to enhance the discovery, development and delivery of medical innovation. Part of this report deals specifically with ways to improve clinical trials. However, the report did not address psychosocial care services. These services, which include distress screenings, counseling and other multifaceted support treatments, are extremely important and ensure better quality cancer care.

Clinical trials are necessary for testing out potential remedies and documenting their success over time. They are what have given us the polio vaccine, penicillin and even chemo. However, when patients are not screened and treated for psychosocial distress, they are more likely to drop out of the study, slowing the clinical trial process and increasing the number of years before any drugs can be given to the public. In addition, the early diagnosis of distress in patients has been shown to reduce their health care costs by an average of 20%. Not only is distress screening more beneficial for cancer cures in the long run, it is also more economical for individuals in the short term.

This is why it is so vital that distress screening and supportive care be included in the next congressional health care proposal. More people than ever are being diagnosed with cancer, and more than ever are benefitting from the advancements we are making in cancer research. It’s time for clinical trials to evolve to include treatment for all aspects of a person’s being.

Join our Grassroots Network to unleash the power of your own voice. Find out how writing to Congress can change the future of cancer treatments, and stay up to date on other cancer issues in politics. Most importantly, become part of a movement that’s not just wishing for change, but being the change. To be part of our Grassroots Network click here, and to send a letter to Congress, click here.

Category: Cancer Advocacy