Immunotherapy Support and Education Program

September 6, 2017
Immunotherapy and me

The Cancer Support Community Delivers Groundbreaking Immunotherapy Support and Education Program to Patients and Providers

Cancer Support Community launches first-of-its-kind immunotherapy pilot program in partnership with cancer centers in Colorado, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington

WASHINGTON, DC — The Cancer Support Community (CSC), an international nonprofit, today announced the launch of Immunotherapy & Me, an innovative program to support the unique needs of patients receiving immunotherapy treatment, and the clinical staff who care for them. The program aims to identify and implement patient-centered practice solutions across the continuum of immunotherapy care.

“The Cancer Support Community sees that immunotherapy is greatly impacting how we treat cancer, with marked advances in the treatment of lung, melanoma, genitourinary, hematologic, head and neck cancers, and more,” said Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO, Cancer Support Community. “This is why we are so excited to work with our pilot partners to improve the experience of patients receiving immunotherapy and to help establish clinical practice tools to advance quality care.”

Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Given the unique way immunotherapy engages the immune system, recognition and management of side effects can be challenging. Patients and health care teams share the responsibility of promptly reporting treatment-related symptoms, however, patients often require additional education, support, and resources to become active partners in their care.

Immunotherapy & Me addresses this by empowering patients to promptly report treatment-related side effects and by providing staff the resources to streamline patient education around symptom management. Immunotherapy & Me will be piloted at nine oncology practice sites for twelve months, including the collection and reporting of patient outcomes. A core component of this initiative will be assessing patient levels of distress using CSC’s CancerSupportSource® to document program impact on the overall patient experience. Immunotherapy & Me offers patients and staff three categories of activation tools: a web-based app to monitor treatment-related side effects; educational materials that are both immunotherapy-specific and general cancer information; and an expansion of CSC’s existing Cancer Support Helpline to include registered nurses to assist patients and families with concerns related to their clinical care.

“The tools and framework the Cancer Support Community provides through the Immunotherapy & Me pilot are invaluable to our team of physicians, nurses, social workers, navigators, and researchers,” said Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, medical oncologist and Executive Director of the West Cancer Center based in Memphis, Tennessee. “By engaging a wide-variety of touchpoints—on-site, online, and, over the phone—we maximize patient engagement, can better monitor patient progress, and hope to improve patient outcomes.”

CSC is partnering with nine highly regarded oncology practices for this pilot. These practices allow CSC to bring interventions to immunotherapy patients at the point-of-care while reaching geographically and demographically diverse patient populations. These pilot sites are:

Catholic Health Initiatives

  • Harrison Medical Center – Bremerton, Washington
  • Harrison Medical Center – Poulsbo, Washington

Centura Health

  • Littleton Adventist Hospital – Littleton, Colorado
  • Parker Adventist Hospital – Parker, Colorado
  • Porter Adventist Hospital – Denver, Colorado

OHC (Formerly Oncology Hematology Care, Inc.)

  • OHC West Office – Cincinnati, Ohio

Roswell Park Cancer Institute – Buffalo, New York

West Cancer Center

  • West Cancer Center: Corinth – Corinth, Mississippi
  • West Cancer Center: Wolf River – Memphis, Tennessee

The Immunotherapy & Me program is made possible through the generous financial support of Bristol-Myers Squibb.