CRANBURY, NJ (Sept. 6, 2022) – Widely accepted as the guide for oncology navigators, the Oncology Navigation Standards of Professional Practice state that, “oncology navigators collaborate with patients and their loved ones and all members of the healthcare team.”
Broad agreement with this guidance—and a deep value for the patient voice—recently led the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) to write a letter to President Biden expressing its disappointment in the omission of a cancer survivor from the President’s Cancer Panel.
The CLC is a patient-centered forum of national advocacy organizations addressing public policy issues in cancer. AONN+ is one of more than 30 groups at CLC representing cancer patients; oncologists and other healthcare professionals; researchers; and caregivers in working collectively to ensure cancer patients have access to high-quality care.
In the August 8 letter, the CLC said, “we believe that cancer survivors should be included on the Panel because they can offer experience, expertise, and perspectives that are different from those offered by health care professionals, whether clinicians, basic researchers, or physician researchers.”
“As a professional practice organization of oncology navigators, patients with cancer are the core of our work,” says Monica Dean, HON-OPN-CG, AONN+ Director of Patient Navigation Program Development. “We support patients during the entire cancer continuum and feel it is integral that the survivor voice is heard on the President’s Cancer Panel.”
The three-member panel exists to make progress for people facing a cancer diagnosis, and to reduce the burden of cancer on the American population. Current appointees are all medically trained physicians.
“Like the canary in the coal mine, cancer survivors are often the first to experience adverse consequences of cancer policies,” says Deborah Lefkowitz, PhD, OPN-CG, AONN+ Policy and Advocacy Committee member. “The omission of a cancer survivor from the President’s Cancer Panel is not only a serious oversight, but potentially an additional barrier to achieving equity in cancer care.”
In closing, the letter urges the President to, “employ formal and informal means to solicit the input of cancer survivors regarding the panel’s work.”
About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+)
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+), is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 8900 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process. www.aonnonline.org
For Immediate Release
Gwen Coverdale, 267-884-6328