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Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network (MCCPCN) Work Groups

MCCPCN has a number of work groups that address strategies outlined in the state plan.

Each work group is comprised of volunteers who are cancer experts, cancer survivors, or other stakeholders. Work groups evaluate data, identify gaps, formulate goals and implement projects that further the goals of the state plan. At this time there are five active work groups: Prostate Cancer, Survivorship, Palliative Care, HPV/Cervical Cancer, and Lung Cancer.

Would you like to join a work group or just learn more? If so, let us know by filling out this MCCPCN Work Group Inquiry Form. We’d love to hear from you.

Here are some past accomplishments and current projects from the workgroups:

Prostate Cancer Workgroup

In July 2013 a small, yet effective group representing primary care, urology, patient navigation and advocacy, and research met to tackle the complex issue of prostate cancer screening in Massachusetts. A panel pulled together by a PCORI grant created clinical screening guidelines for prostate cancer screening which encouraged a shared decision making process to be done when conducting prostate cancer screening. These guidelines were adopted by the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners in December 2013. In support of these guidelines, the workgroup has created decision aid tools to help men and providers navigate the prostate cancer screening process. To learn more about the shared decision making, read Prostate Cancer Screening: A Shared Decision.

Palliative Care Workgroup

The palliative care workgroup started in April 2014. Members of this workgroup represent home health care, skilled nursing, pediatric palliative care, research, and hospice. This workgroup plans to increase the awareness and education of the importance of timely palliative care in cancer care and other chronic diseases. The workgroup implemented a statewide survey assessing the accessibility and quality of palliative care in various settings. The survey results demonstrated that access to palliative care services are fragmented at best. As a result, the workgroup held seven regional palliative care forums to bring stakeholders together to share ideas and develop an action plan in order to increase access to palliation in these regions. The workgroup is now working with JSI Research & Training Institute to provide these regional groups with technical assistance to conduct intensive regional needs assessments, map service delivery networks, and build partnerships to increase to palliation.

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HPV/Cervical Cancer Workgroup

The HPV/Cervical Cancer workgroup met for the first time in January 2015. This group of dedicated survivors, advocates, providers, and public health professionals convened to begin discussions on how to increase the HPV immunization rates among boys and girls, and decrease the number of new cases of cervical cancer, especially in vulnerable populations. This group stemmed from a HPV coalition that came together to support the work of a CDC-funded project to increase the HPV immunization rates in Massachusetts. The workgroup has worked with school-based health centers to implement HPV education in current health curriculum among other efforts. In particular, the workgroup has a vibrant dental subgroup that is looking to provide HPV education to the dental community through curriculum development, articles, and presentations. In addition, the cervical cancer subgroup led by primary care and gynecological specialists are looking to identify how to risk-stratify women for cervical cancer.

Survivorship Workgroup

From 2014-2016, in an effort to increase the quality of life for cancer survivors in Massachusetts, the survivorship workgroup has decided to focus on wellness. It created the Wellness Guide for Cancer Survivors, which provides tips to improve wellness in six areas of life: Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, Thinking, Social, and Work. The guide is filled with inspirational stories of wellness from cancer survivors across the Commonwealth, and provides helpful, practical information from experts who care for cancer survivors. The Workgroup is currently working with a communication vendor to assess the best way to translate the guide in Spanish and Portuguese in a culturally competent manner.

In October 2010, representatives from all six New England states met in Manchester, New Hampshire over two days to begin a collaborative effort to address Survivorship on a regional level. Hosted by the Massachusetts Survivorship Workgroup and funded, in part, by the American Cancer Society New England Division, the conference was a great success. To learn more about the Conference and its outcomes, please read the Conference Summary (DOC).

In the spring of 2009, MDPH conducted a statewide survey of oncologists and primary care physicians on the use of treatment summaries and survivorship care plan.

In May of 2008 the Survivorship Workgroup (SWG) convened a statewide Survivorship Summit. One of the main priorities to come out of the Summit was advocating for cancer survivors to receive treatment summaries and care plans from their oncologists.

Disparities & Health Equity

he Disparities & Health Equity Work Group started in 2012 to address disparity strategies contained in the 2012-2016 Massachusetts Cancer Plan, even before the plan was published. The early initiation of the Work Group stemmed from the commitment and engagement of those who wrote the Disparities & Health Equity section of the state plan.

In 2013, MDPH conducted a cancer disparities needs assessment of southeastern Massachusetts. Please see the report by JSI Research and Training Institute, Cancer Disparities (DOC).

The Disparities & Health Equity Work Group has officially disbanded as a standalone workgroup. Members of this group have been infused in the other workgroups to ensure our work consistently maintains a health equity lens. We continue to work with JSI Research & Training Institute to provide data collection and evaluation technical assistance to the Cancer Disparity grantees (Greater New Bedford Allies, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Greater Lowell Health Alliance). Phase I of the project included a cancer needs assessment, and disseminating the findings to key stakeholders including residents. Phase II of the project, which entails grantees choosing an evidence-informed intervention to implement in their respective communities, is underway:

  • Greater New Bedford Allies has chosen to work on increasing awareness and access to colorectal screening through distribution of FIT kits (at-home tests), training community health workers, and developing health literacy tools for their population.
  • Cambridge Health Alliance has chosen to work on increasing education about prostate cancer for black men in their communities through a social media campaign and developing promotional tools. In addition, CHA has convened a clinical quality workgroup to assess late-stage diagnosis of prostate cancer.
  • Greater Lowell Health Alliance has chosen to work on reducing smoking among Khmer population by expanding tobacco cessation programs to include bicultural and bilingual staff. It has also implemented cultural-competency training at Lowell General Hospital in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital Disparity Solution Center.

We look forward to continue working with the grantees to evaluate their interventions and develop a sustainability plan.

Lung Cancer Workgroup

MCCPCN launched a new Lung Cancer Workgroup in April 2016. The workgroup aims to provide support to existing and emerging lung cancer screening programs across the state by: Proposing and promoting quality standards for screening; assuring that screening programs have access to technical assistance for implementation of lung cancer screening programs; and providing education about lung cancer screening to providers and patients. In the upcoming year, the workgroup plans to conduct a needs assessment of providers who are currently offering or planning to offer lung cancer screening; develop a website that centralizes information and resources for patients and providers, including decision aids on lung cancer screening; and increase the awareness of lung cancer screening.