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For Immediate Release: September 14, 2010
Association of Community Cancer Centers Publishes Innovative Solutions to the Oncology Workforce Shortage
Special Oncology Issues Examines How Community Cancer Centers Can Care for Tomorrow’s Cancer Patients
ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has published a special edition of its bimonthly journal, Oncology Issues, which provides strategies that oncology care providers can initiate to confront the looming shortages in the oncology workforce. The edition is available at www.accc-cancer.org/oncology_issues, in an easy-to-read online format.
“Through collaborative efforts, innovative thinking, and ongoing discussions, we in the oncology community can lay the groundwork today to help care for tomorrow’s cancer patients,” said ACCC Immediate Past-President Luana Lamkin, RN, MPH. “The September/October 2010 Oncology Issues offers multidisciplinary perspectives and practical solutions to the oncology workforce shortage.”
The number of cancer patients is expected to increase by 55 percent—reaching 18.2 million patients by the year 2020, while the number of medical oncologists is expected to increase by only 14 percent during the same time period. That’s a projected shortfall of 4,200 physicians. Similar shortages are expected in other cancer care professions, including oncology nurses, medical physicists, certified tumor registrars, and social workers.
“All of us in the oncology community have a vested interest in solving this crisis and improving the experience of the cancer patient,” said Ms. Lamkin, whose President’s theme focused on the oncology workforce shortage.
Within the September/October 2010 issue of ACCC’s award-winning journal, experts discuss “out-of-the-box” solutions to the impending oncology workforce shortage crisis such as:
- Increasing the hiring of advanced practice nurses to partner with physicians
- Exploring the potential of patient web portals for improving quality care and communication. New technology can help patients manage symptoms and link them to the cancer center, physicians at their practices, and researchers.
- Reaching out to nursing schools that have less access to clinical training sites and, for example, creating an oncology rotation for nursing students
- Improving and standardizing the cancer care education available to nurse practitioners new to oncology.
In developing this special issue, ACCC contacted many key stakeholders, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Association of Oncology Social Work, and the Oncology Nursing Society.