Traditionally, the pathology lab and pathologists have been a “behind the scenes” member of the cancer care team. However, with advances in our understanding of cancer and the increase in targeted therapies and biomarker testing, the role of pathology and the pathologist in cancer diagnosis and treatment has changed.

The process of conducting biomarker testing, interpreting and understanding the results, and using them to ensure appropriate patients have access to new therapies requires full integration of the pathology lab and pathologists into the cancer care team. Closer integration is particularly needed in the community setting where formal relationships between pathology and medical oncology may not exist. 

With an interest in improving care in the community setting, ACCC, in partnership with the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP), is undertaking a major initiative to: 

  1. for the first time, provide a comprehensive overview of the community-based pathology/pathologist landscape and its interaction with the cancer care team, 
  2. identify and curate effective practices for team integration and demonstrate how to implement these practices, and
  3. measure and report impact of these effective practices on such issues as testing, communication, and patient satisfaction.

With a more in-depth understanding of how pathology is currently being integrated into the multidisciplinary cancer care team, ACCC members will be better able to assess and remediate barriers to effective integration of biomarker and molecular testing results into the treatment planning and decision-making process and improve shared decision-making in the community setting. 

Three phases are planned for this project:

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