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Precision Medicine: Integration of Pathology with the Cancer Care Team

In an era of precision medicine and rapidly advancing cancer therapeutics, the role of pathology in the diagnosis and management of cancer is evolving. Pathologists are uniquely positioned at the intersection of multiple points along the cancer care continuum. Starting at the point of cancer diagnosis, pathologists provide expert interpretation and may recommend biomarker testing to guide treatment decisions. As clinicians monitor treatment response, repeat biopsies or biomarker testing may inform how the tumor is evolving. Pathologists may also play a role in determining clinical trial eligibility, especially for patients who do not respond to the standard of care. Recent advances in targeted therapies, molecular biology, and immuno-oncology necessitate a closer integration and coordination of pathology with the multidisciplinary cancer care team. There are currently no formally established criteria to classify the levels of integration between pathology and the multidisciplinary cancer care team.

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Assess the level of pathology integration with cancer care delivery at your institution. Upon completion, you will receive a personalized report with scores in each domain. Self-assessment results can help identify short- and long-term opportunities to improve and strengthen integration of pathology services, taking into account factors such as your program’s resource level, infrastructure, and administrative/leadership support.

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Featured White Papers

pathology coordinated reporting thumbnailConsiderations for Pathology Reporting
Explore aspirational concepts and practical ideas to achieve a more coordinated pathology reporting approach, minimize delays to treatment, and improve communication between pathologists and members of the cancer care team.

pathology patient centered care thumbnailPatient-Centered Care: Reporting and Communicating Pathology and Ancillary Test Results
Learn how reporting improvements can lead to elevated patient-centered care, help patients better understand their diagnosis, and more fully engage in shared decision-making. 


Pathology Survey Results InfographicPathology Survey Key Findings 
To gain a comprehensive view of how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary oncology team, ACCC and its partner organizations developed and disseminated a survey for members of the care team.


Integration of Pathology Leadership Summit

These materials, along with a paper highlighting key policy issues, comprised pre-reading for participants attending the Integration of Pathology in Oncology Care Leadership Summit held on July 31, 2018, in Washington, D.C. 

This invitation-only forum convened a select group of thought leaders from a diverse group of stakeholders including providers, payers, patient advocacy groups, labs, diagnostic and tech companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to discuss critical issues facing the oncology community with regards to biomarker testing, precision medicine, and the current ways in which pathologists interface with the cancer care team.
Download the Environmental ScanLearn About the Summit Participants

Leadership Summit participants prioritized future opportunities, identifying the following as the most immediately actionable:

  • Empowering pathologists & the oncology team for culture change
  • Standardizing the testing order process
  • Improving specimen management
  • Optimizing virtual molecular tumor boards
  • Strengthening the alliance between pathology & genetic counseling
  • Generating "One Standardized Pathology Report"
  • Educating & empowering patients

Summit Executive Summary Summit Proceedings

Through panel discussions, breakout group conversations, and interactive presentations, Summit participants shared perspectives on how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary cancer care team and what opportunities exist to improve on the status quo. Through a consensus-driven process, Summit participants identified seven opportunities as the most feasible and impactful for achieving closer integration of pathology with the cancer team.

Policy and regulatory issues are impacting the future of precision medicine and clinical diagnostics in oncology. This white paper, prepared as pre-reading for summit participants, explores some current concerns, including CMS's 14-Day rule.
Read Our White Paper
For more information or to participate in these efforts, email Senior Program Manager Elana Plotkin, CMP-HC, Assistant Director, Provider Education.

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