Assessment of the status of A National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship in the USA
There are currently more than 12 million cancer survivors in the USA. Survivors face many issues related to cancer and treatment that are outside the purview of the clinical care system. Therefore, understanding and providing for the evolving needs of cancer survivors offers challenges and opportunities for the public health system. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, now the Livestrong Foundation, partnered with national cancer survivorship organizations to develop the National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship (NAPCS). This plan outlines public health strategies to address the needs of cancer survivors. To date, no assessment of NAPCS strategies and their alignment with domestic cancer survivorship activities has been conducted.
The activities of five national organizations with organized public health agendas about cancer survivorship were assessed qualitatively during 2003–2007. Using the NAPCS as an organizing framework, interviews were conducted with key informants from all participating organizations. Interview responses were supplemented with relevant materials from informants and reviews of the organizations’ websites.
Strategies associated with surveillance and applied research; communication, education, and training; and programs, policy, and infrastructure represent a large amount of the organizational efforts. However, there are gaps in research on preventive interventions, evaluation of implemented activities, and translation.
Numerous NAPCS strategies have been implemented. Future efforts of national cancer survivorship organizations should include rigorous evaluation of implemented activities, increased translation of research to practice, and assessment of dissemination efforts.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
The results of this descriptive assessment provide cancer survivors, cancer survivorship organizations, researchers, providers, and policy makers with initial information about cancer survivorship public health efforts in the USA. Additionally, results suggest areas in need of further attention and next steps in advancing the national cancer survivorship public health agenda.