90% of National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Centers providing clinical care do not include links to cancer rehabilitation services on their websites! In 2017, there will be an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed in the US, and we know the current health care system in America is challenged to meet the needs of the increasing number of cancer survivors.
The first thing most people do when they have been diagnosed with a condition is search the internet. Both patients with a cancer diagnosis and their family members search for information to educate themselves about the disease and the recommended treatment options. They need additional information about their cancer diagnosis on top of that given to them by the healthcare staff. The greatest information need is related to how cancer will affect their day-to-day life. Healthcare staff should provide patients with advice about reliable websites.
Health professionals can diagnose and treat patients’ physical, psychological, and cognitive impairments to help them maintain or restore function, reduce common side effects, retain independence and improve a cancer survivors’ quality of life. Health professional services are cost-effective and are known to reduce both direct and indirect health care costs, thereby reducing the enormous financial burden of cancer. However, most cancer care delivery models do not include cancer rehabilitation into their oncology care service. Research has shown 90% of national leading cancer centers do not represent cancer rehabilitation services care methods on their websites.
A study to evaluate the existence of and quality of patient-related cancer rehabilitation published in the Journal of Cancer Education 2017 discovered 90% of National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Centers providing clinical care do not include links to cancer rehabilitation services on their websites. Furthermore, 70% of theses websites overlooked the opportunity to present a description of cancer rehabilitation services.
We need to integrate cancer rehabilitation care models into oncology care from the point of diagnosis, incorporating evidence-based rehabilitation clinical assessment tools, and include health professionals in shared decision-making so we can provide high-quality cancer care.