BETHESDA, MarylandIn its 2005-2006 annual report, the President's Cancer Panel (PCP) departed from its norm of examining a specific cancer-related issue and instead looked at what has emerged from the recommendations made in its two previous reports. The panel found some progress but much left undone, and it warned of "disturbingly diminished expectations for change related to specific survivorship and research translation concerns."
The new report, Assessing Progress, Advancing Change, focused on a few key recommendations contained in Living Beyond Cancer: Finding a New Balance, the panel's 2003-2004 report on survivorship issues, and Translating Research into Cancer Care: Delivering on the Promise, its 2004-2005 report. While recognizing the short time span that has passed since it issued the two reports, the panel said it selected them for review because it "believes them significantly critical to NCP [the National Cancer Program] to require follow-up at this time."
PCP was created under the National Cancer Act of 1971 and charged with monitoring and evaluating all aspects of the NCP and reporting at least once annually to the President on barriers to the most effective development and execution of the program.
The current membership consists of chair LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., MD, Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine; cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation; and Margaret L. Kripke, PhD, executive vice president and chief academic officer of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In compiling its report, the PCP conducted four meetings, two focused on each report, at which it heard testimony from experts, patients, and advocates.
The panel expressed satisfaction with the progress in some areas of survivorship, "most notably partnerships and programmatic initiatives to increase public and health provider awareness of survivor issues." But it declared progress in several other areas less encouraging.
- It found that the lack of a strong knowledge base needed to develop guidelines for follow-up care for many cancers and individual patients' circumstances remains a continuing problem. "However, meeting participants agreed that even while this evidence base is being strengthened, follow-up care plans must nonetheless be provided, based on best practices and the best available expert opinion," the report said.