Public Policy Advocacy

In this section, you will find information and resources about major policy issues that affect people with cancer. Every day, local and national policymakers make decisions that directly influence the care of patients. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the nation’s leading professional organization representing oncologists and other cancer care providers, advocates on a wide range of policy-related issues to ensure that all patients with cancer have access to high-quality, high-value cancer care. The following topics represent some of the issues that the Society is currently addressing. For more information about cancer policy and advocacy, visit the Advocacy section on and see the list below of additional educational resources that may be helpful.

Access to Care: Efforts aimed at advancing access to and delivery of high-quality cancer care include 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 research 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.

Federal Funding for Cancer Research: Federal funding for cancer research has remained flat for more than a decade and has decreased when adjusted for inflation. Renewed and increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is vital for future progress in cancer care.

Quality 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.

Value in Cancer Care: Promoting value in cancer care is necessary to reduce the financial burdens facing patients as a result of the rising cost of care. Advocating for value-focused policy reforms and developing tools to help physicians and patients address cancer care costs together, represents one way in which organizations such as ASCO are working to address this issue.

Additional Resources

Cancer and the Affordable Care Act: Find key information about the Patient Information and Affordable Care Act to help patients navigate ACA.

ASCO in Action: Read the latest news and information in cancer policy that affects patients, cancer care, and cancer research from ASCO.

ASCO’s ACT Network: Discover a range of opportunities to become engaged in advocacy for important policy issues impacting cancer care.

ASCO's Advocacy Toolkit: Find information on best practices and methods for engaging with policy makers and stakeholders.

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.

Cancer Progress Timeline: Learn about the progress made in clinical cancer research over the past four decades and find expert perspectives on remaining challenges by visiting this interactive ASCO website.

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