Public Policy Advocacy

In this section, you will find information and resources about legislative and regulatory issues facing lawmakers and other decision makers that affect people with cancer. Policymakers, both local and national, make decisions every day that directly influence the care of patients. As an organization that represents the needs and concerns of the professional oncology community, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) establishes its policy priorities each year to reflect emerging issues that are important to oncologists and the people they care for. These topics represent some of the issues that the Society is currently addressing, and the links directly below will take you to another website, ASCO in Action. Following this list, there are additional educational resources that may be helpful.

Access to Care: There are a variety of efforts aimed at advancing access to and delivery of high-quality cancer care including: advocating for public policy that ensures access to cancer care for the underserved, developing tools to help physicians and patients address the rising cost of cancer care, supporting efforts to reduce disparities in cancer care and outcomes, and working to maintain and build a strong and diverse oncology workforce to meet patient needs.

Clinical Trials: ASCO feels it is important to encourage increased participation in clinical trials by making the system more efficient, prioritizing inclusion of the most promising science, and ensuring adequate reimbursement for the expenses of patients enrolled in clinical trials.

Drug Shortages: The cancer community is experiencing severe and worsening shortages of many critical therapies. This is a complex problem with multiple causes related to regulatory and manufacturing issues. Many organizations and advocates are working with policymakers to address these critical shortages and find solutions to help prevent future occurrences.

Individualized Care for Advanced Cancer: ASCO believes physicians should be responsible for initiating candid discussions about the full range of palliative care and treatment options available to people with cancer. These critical conversations are an integral part of cancer care.

Government Funding for Cancer Research: Continued strong sustained funding for the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is vital, in ASCO's view, to improving healthcare for all Americans.

Quality Cancer Care: Every person with cancer should receive the highest level of cancer care. The quality of care that a patient receives is one of the most important aspects of a successful treatment outcome. There are many ways to advocate on behalf of patients to ensure they receive the best care available.

Additional Resources

ASCO in Action: This ASCO website spotlights timely information on research policy, clinical affairs, government relations, and quality of care issues that affect patients, cancer care, and cancer research.

ASCO's Advocacy Toolkit: This toolkit provides information on effectively communicating with elected officials, including how to schedule and participate in a meeting with a member of Congress (or staff person), how to write a meaningful email or letter, and how to connect using social media.

CancerProgress.Net: This ASCO website highlights the progress made in clinical cancer research over the past four decades. This is a data-rich, interactive resource that provides a visual, multimedia history of advances in cancer treatment and prevention as well as expert perspective on remaining challenges, and other useful tools designed for anyone interested in progress against cancer. 

Cancer Leadership Council: The Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) is made up of 33 patient organizations, professional societies, and research organizations engaged in a wide range of issues related to a fundamental goal of ensuring people with cancer have access to high quality care.

Being a Cancer Advocate: In this Cancer.Net article, learn how you can help others by providing support, raising public awareness, advancing cancer research, improving the quality of cancer care, and addressing legislative and regulatory issues that affect cancer care and research.

Patient Information Resources: Review Cancer.Net's list of national patient advocacy organizations that provide assistance and support.


Last Updated: February 28, 2012