As the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. CSC achieves its mission through three areas: direct service delivery, research and advocacy. The organization includes an international network of Affiliates that offer the highest quality social and emotional support for people impacted by cancer, as well as a community of support available online and over the phone. The Research and Training Institute conducts cutting-edge psychosocial, behavioral and survivorship research. CSC furthers its focus on patient advocacy through its Cancer Policy Institute, informing public policy in Washington, D.C. and across the nation.
One recent aim of the Cancer Support Community (CSC) has been to increase awareness of cancer clinical trials, a key to innovations in medical research. Even though approximately 20 percent of patients are eligible to participate in a clinical trial, only as few as 3-4 percent choose to be a part of them.
“Our research shows that patients do not fully understand cancer clinical trials and that there are many persistent myths and misconceptions about them. In order to increase innovation in cancer research, we need to address the concerns of patients and educate them about clinical trials as a potential treatment option that could be right for them,” said Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO at the Cancer Support Community.
The Cancer Support Community launched Frankly Speaking About Cancer Clinical Trials in June to fill this need. The multimedia program explains clinical trials and answers common questions of patients and their families.
The organization is also collaborating with Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative. The Cancer Support Community hosted Cancer Moonshot Summits at 31 locations across the country on June 29 and shared insights on the patient experience at the White House’s D.C. Moonshot Summit.
In addition to these efforts, one of the core beliefs of the Cancer Support Community is that cancer research needs to include not just biomedical research, but also behavioral and psychosocial research.
The Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute in Philadelphia is focused on better understanding the patient experience in order to improve quality of care. The institute conducts behavioral and psychosocial research and translates findings into programs to better serve patients and their caregivers.
“We must understand all of the challenges that patients face—socially, emotionally financially, and more—in order to put forward a true integrated model of patient care. The patient voice is at the center of everything that we do,” said Kim Thiboldeaux.
The Cancer Support Community’s goals align closely with Research!America’s vision to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Through research, educational programs and advocacy, the Cancer Support Community is working to elevate biomedical as well as psychosocial and behavioral research in the eyes of critical stakeholders.
For more information, call the toll-free Cancer Support Helpline at 888-793-9355, or visit www.CancerSupportCommunity.org.