Session Descriptions

Session 1: Health Care Reform and Implications for Cancer Control Across the Continuum

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is a large and complex piece of federal legislation that is intended to increase the number of Americans with health insurance coverage, improve access to health care—particularly for vulnerable populations—and enhance the delivery of health care in the U.S. This session will focus on implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for cancer control. The session will address two questions: 1) how will the ACA affect cancer control, across the cancer continuum?, and 2) how is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service leveraging existing data resources to monitor the ACA’s implementation and impact? The overall goal of the session is to stimulate thinking about ways that DCCPS might develop or refine its survey tools to monitor changes in health care access and utilization specific to cancer control that take place as a result of the ACA.

Session 2: Emerging Issues in Cancer Prevention (Cancer Screening and Energy Balance)

This session will address emerging directions relevant to two critical areas in primary and secondary prevention of cancer: (a) Energy Balance and (b) Cancer Screening. In the area of Energy Balance, greater attention is being paid to local, state, and national public health policies and interventions that impact diet, weight, and physical activity. At the health care provider level, guidelines for clinical assessment and management of these components are being developed and disseminated. At the community level, laws and regulations may impose restrictions on sales of particular items (e.g., sugary soft drinks), or attempt to provide better access to health foods and safer venues for physical activity. We anticipate that both population-based and provider surveys will increasingly focus on awareness, attitudes, and behavior regarding these developments, and we therefore seek direction in how to best address them in future data collection efforts. In the area of Cancer Screening, scientific directions have evolved from tracking awareness and use of screening tests (e.g., for breast, colorectal, cervical, prostate, and lung cancer), to more comprehensively assess physician and patient awareness, attitudes, and practices related to both overuse and underuse of screening; appropriateness of screening at advanced age, especially in the presence of comorbid conditions; and tradeoffs among benefits, costs, and harms associated with screening. Surveys may increasingly have a role in surveillance of population and provider awareness, attitudes, behaviors, and system support regarding these issues, and may provide an important tool for addressing point-in-time research questions that relate knowledge, attitudes, and practices to screening recommendations and policies. The invited session speakers will summarize the greatest gaps in our current knowledge for these areas, and how we can design or modify our approaches to be better positioned to obtain useful and actionable data.

Session 3: Environmental Exposures and Cancer

Advances in technologies such as wireless portable electronic devices, and in GIS methodology, have greatly facilitated capturing improved measures of toxic environmental exposures at multiple time points and with increasing precision. Research in the area of epidemiology and surveillance is also advancing efforts to link data on environmental exposures at the ecological level to data on individuals. How such advances may be complementary to and influence the design of standard survey self-report methodology is an important and timely conversation. Issues discussed will include data collection in the field in a way that incorporates surveys, biological samples, and geo-spatial issues.

Session 4: Pharmacosurveillance

Cancer Pharmacosurveillance is the practice of monitoring the utilization, effectiveness, and safety of anticancer therapies after they have been FDA approved and released on the market and is an important part of the science of cancer pharmacoepidemiology. Most anticancer therapies are approved on the basis of randomized clinical trials which involve limited numbers of carefully selected patients, treated and followed-up for a relatively short period of time in strictly controlled conditions. As a result, such trials may not provide an accurate reflection of how therapies will impact health outcomes in general practice under everyday circumstances. Pharmacoepidemiology studies often make useful contributions to our knowledge of therapy utilization and health outcomes because they assess therapy effects over longer periods in large heterogeneous patient populations who have a wide variety of medical conditions. Cancer Pharmacosurveillance can provide important insights regarding the patterns of use, quality of use, determinants of use, and outcomes of use, (including beneficial and adverse effects and economic consequences) of anticancer therapies. A number of approaches are used in pharmacosurveillance to monitor utilization, effectiveness and safety of licensed drugs and devices, including spontaneous reporting databases, prescription event monitoring, electronic health records, patient and physician surveys, patient registries and record linkage between health databases.

Session 5: Technological Advances in Survey Design and Administration

This session will address future developments in the methodology underlying cancer-related population and provider surveys. First, consideration will be given to the general question of 'where the field is going,' particularly in terms of survey administration mode, given likely changes in society that may necessitate concomitant modifications to our traditional approaches (e.g., migration from RDD telephone surveys to mail or web). Second, the session will focus on particular new hardware and software technologies for data collection that may accompany developments in the field of information technology, and which may feature increased use of social media, handheld/mobile computers, activity monitors, or other devices. The overall objective will be to anticipate evolution of a number of factors, such as technology, information systems, ethics of data collection and sharing, that have ramifications for self-report survey data collection, especially as this may be integrated with behavior or event monitoring, linkage to records, or other novel approaches to population-based data collection.

 


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