Researchers have made great strides in identifying mutations that drive uncontrolled cellular growth and, ultimately, cancer. There remains a well-recognized disconnect, however, between guideline-concordant testing and real-word clinical practice. Medically underserved populations in particular face significant challenges to accessing the latest advances in cancer diagnostics.
For example, a 2019 National Cancer Institute study found that, in 2013 and 2014, of 83,000 women from large cancer registries in California and Georgia, only about 25% of those with breast cancer and 33% of those with ovarian cancer were tested for known harmful genetic variants. While large racial and socioeconomic disparities in testing rates were not observed among patients with breast cancer, among patients with ovarian cancer, testing rates were far lower for Black patients than White patients (22% vs. 34%) and for uninsured patients than insured patients (21% vs. 35%).
In response to these disparities, some oncology practices have developed innovations to remove barriers to widespread biomarker testing. One such solution is for cancer programs to designate a “precision medicine steward”—a navigation lead that serves as the point person for removing barriers to testing so all eligible patients are appropriately tested.
This program will highlight effective Precision Medicine Steward programs, evaluate challenges and explore best practices while defining the unique responsibilities of the steward role. This program will demonstrate the utility and feasibility of the steward role as an important member of the multidisciplinary panel within the oncology team.
For more information on this project, please contact the ACCC Provider Education department.
Learn how precision medicine stewards are helping to bridge the gaps and challenges associated with cancer diagnostics and biomarker testing.
This project is made possible by support from AstraZeneca and Blueprint Medicines.