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Survivorship and Treatment

Improve the overall experience and quality of life of all Commonwealth residents who are living with, through, and beyond cancer and ensure they have equal and timely access to cancer information, treatment, and clinical trials.

Thanks to improvements in early detection and treatment, the number of cancer survivors continues to increase, both nationally and in Massachusetts. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the number of cancer survivors in the US has more than tripled in the past 35 years. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 11 million people in the United States are cancer survivors, and more than two-thirds of persons diagnosed with cancer now survive five or more years after diagnosis.4 In the 2010 BRFSS, 9% of all Massachusetts adults surveyed, and 25% of those aged 65 and older, reported that they had been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

This rapidly increasing number of cancer survivors is a critical emerging public health issue. Increased numbers and longer survival times mean that more survivors will be receiving long-term cancer-related care via their primary care providers (PCPs), who may not be familiar with recommended standards of care. The IOM notes that “…the current US health care system is failing to deliver the comprehensive and coordinated follow-up care cancer survivors deserve. Too many survivors are lost in transition once they finish treatment. They move from an orderly system of care to a ‘non-system’ in which there are few guidelines to assist them through the next stage of their life or help them overcome the medical and psychosocial problems that may arise.”

Massachusetts is home to one of 40 NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, as well as 45 cancer programs accredited by the CoC. These facilities must meet best-practice standards related to diagnostic, treatment and other clinical, rehabilitation, support, prevention and early detection services. In 2006, 61% of Massachusetts hospitals were accredited by CoC, ranking seventh in the US.

For the Goals, Objectives and Strategies of the Survivorship & Treatment section please see pages 54-57 of the 2012 – 2016 Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Plan for Massachusetts (DOC)


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