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ASCO’s CancerLinQ Will Bring the Treatment Knowledge of Mesothelioma Specialists to the Hands of All Oncologists

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When patients are diagnosed with rare cancers such as mesothelioma, they rely on their oncologists and medical team to offer them the best available care.  In the case of cancer treatment, however, the medical landscape is constantly changing, and doctors struggle to stay informed of the latest therapies.  The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is aware of this, and last month announced the start of CancerLinQ as a means to address the issue.

ASCO notes that patients are increasingly presenting with rare cancers, making the best course of treatment unclear. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare, incurable cancer linked to asbestos exposure, often must travel to specialty cancer centers where physicians have firsthand knowledge of treating the disease.  However, ASCO believes that tapping into the millions of electronic medical records of cancer patients, especially those that are treated for rare cancers, and bringing that information together into a rapid learning system, will improve cancer care.

The computer knowledge base, CancerLinQ, will provide physicians with decision support in real-time that “promises to change the way cancer is understood and treated,” according to ASCO President Michael Link, MD.  He adds that the complexity of cancer care today highlights the importance of sharing real-time cancer knowledge, and demands better ways to share and access this knowledge.

The goal of CancerLinQ is to harness the powerful knowledge locked in the millions of individual experiences of cancer.  Each patient with cancer will contribute to the body of knowledge, and will, in turn, benefit themselves, according to Sandra M. Swain, MD, incoming ASCO president.

Swain added, “At the pace that cancer science is moving today, this kind of system will not only be helpful, it will be essential.”

Once the full technology platform is completed, ASCO reports that CancerLinQ will:

  • Improve personalized treatment decisions by cancer care teams by capturing patient information in real time at the point of care; providing real-time decision support tailored to each patient and his or her cancer; and automatically reporting on the quality of care compared with clinical guidelines and the outcomes of other patients.
  • Educate and empower patients by linking them to their cancer care teams and providing personalized treatment information at their fingertips
  • Create a powerful new data source for use in real-world quality and comparative effectiveness studies, and to generate new ideas for clinical research.

ASCO’s initial assessment phase will focus on development of a breast cancer-specific prototype.  ASCO has contracted with Sapient, a leader in healthcare technology, to assist with the development of the prototype.

ASCO plans to unveil the prototype at the society’s inaugural Quality Care Symposium, taking place November 30-December 1, 2012, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+

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