By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Biden Pushes for Progress at Cancer Summit

The Biden Cancer Summit was held in Washington, DC, on September 21, 2018. The day-long event was filled with cancer-related educational sessions—some hosted by ONS leadership—discussing ways to move cancer research and care forward. Formerly dubbed the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, the country-wide effort to make a quantum leap in cancer care has evolved in into the Biden Cancer Initiative (BCI). BCI’s ongoing work will continue to break down barriers and help providers and researchers overcome obstacles as they work toward progress in cancer care.

Although cancer’s complex problems have no shortcuts, quick answers, or single solutions, the summit emphasized that collaboration is key. Throughout the country, BCI-related cancer summits were happening at local institutions and organizations, running in simulcast with BCI. It was a day focused on pushing cancer care and collaboration forward. The Biden family, and the Biden Foundation, has valued the input of oncology nurses every step of the way, and ONS will continue to work with BCI in several areas, including representing oncology nurses in key leadership roles within the organization.  

GAO Makes Appointments to PCORI Governing Board

As a component of the Affordable Care Act's implementation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was established to further research tied to patient outcomes and successful treatment. On September 24, 2018, the government's General Accounting Office (GAO) announced new governing board members for PCORI, including the appointment of ONS member Christopher Friese, PhD, RN, to their ranks.

Each board member serves a six-year term, informing the focus of the institute, which is responsible for dispensing Congress funding allocated to important research targets. Federal government agencies are recognizing the value of nurses—in this case oncology nurses—especially as they impact patient-centered research and care. ONS remains engaged with federal agencies to ensure that the voices and perspectives of nurses are front and center in the patient care conversation.

E-Cig Regulation Likely to Burn Low-Income Americans

American smoking prevalence is nearly two times higher for people living below the poverty line, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers new rules to limit and regulate the consumption of tobacco products—specifically e-cigarettes—the agency’s actions could negatively impact low-income individuals. Traditionally, Americans living below the poverty line have limited access to healthcare services, and e-cigarettes could be a potential smoking cessation tactic for this population. Tighter regulations would reduce low-income Americans’ access to that option and could lead to sustained smoking rates in that population. 

Creating new regulations is often like walking a tightrope, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been one of the strongest advocates for regulating the tobacco industry. Without conclusive evidence for health benefits, e-cigarettes are still considered a risk by many healthcare professionals. Furthermore, many see vaping—and its increased use by children and teenagers—as having the opposite effect from smoking cessation, spurning a new generation of users. Ultimately, more research is needed to determine the effects and impact of e-cigarette use and its role in smoking cessation. In the meantime, the FDA is enhancing its role as a regulatory agency to protect the American public against the harms of tobacco use.