Although it’s one of the less visible commissions, the President’s Cancer Panel monitors the activities of the National Cancer Program and reports on the burden of cancer. The panel reviews a number of topics and keeps current with demographic information and the latest cancer incidence research. After reviewing and recommending based on existing data, the panel releases a formal report to the president. In its most recent report, the panel found serious issues with barriers to access for cancer survivors, and it addressed the costs of drugs and the value therein.

“While the focus of this report is on drug costs and access, the panel recognizes that rising cancer care costs overall also are a serious concern,” the report states. “Efforts to address cancer drug costs should be undertaken with consideration of the total cost of cancer care.”

The panel identified six areas of concentration to improve rising costs:

  • Promoting value-based pricing and use
  • Enable communications about treatment options and costs
  • Invest in biomedical research
  • Minimize contributions of drug costs to financial toxicity
  • Ensure adequate resources for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Stimulate generic and biosimilar market competition

Financial toxicity and its burden on cancer care is a very real concern for many patients in the United States. The impact of rising costs, insurance premiums, and incidentals connected to care can often put patients in difficult position, choosing between their own health and finances.

This conversation continues to make waves, and many other government agencies are weighing in on support of this report. Oncology nurses can add their voices to the patient advocacy effort by joining ONS as it educates lawmakers and politicians at the local, state, and national level.