Availability of patient-centered cancer support services: A statewide survey of cancer centers

Kathleen B. Cartmell, Katherine R. Sterba, Kim Pickett, Jane Zapka, Anthony J. Alberg, Amit J. Sood, Nestor F. Esnaola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Institute of Medicine recommended in their landmark report "From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition" that services to meet the needs of cancer patients should extend beyond physical health issues to include functional and psychosocial consequences of cancer. However, no systems exist in the US to support state-level data collection on availability of support services for cancer patients. Developing a mechanism to systematically collect these data and document service availability is essential for guiding comprehensive cancer control planning efforts. This study was carried out to develop a protocol for implementing a statewide survey of all Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredited cancer centers in South Carolina and to implement the survey to examine availability of patient support services within the state. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of CoC-certified cancer centers in South Carolina. An administrator at each center completed a survey on availability of five services: 1) patient navigation; 2) distress screening; 3) genetic risk assessment and counseling, 4) survivorship care planning; and 5) palliative care. Completed surveys were received from 16 of 17 eligible centers (94%). Of the 16 centers, 44% reported providing patient navigation; 31% reported conducting distress screening; and 44% reported providing genetic risk assessment and counseling. Over 85% of centers reported having an active palliative care program, palliative care providers and a hospice program, but fewer had palliative outpatient services (27%), palliative inpatient beds (50%) or inpatient consultation teams (31%). This was a small, yet systematic survey in one state. This study demonstrated a practical method for successfully monitoring statewide availability of cancer patient support services, including identifying service gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0194649
Pages (from-to)e0194649
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Cancer Care Facilities/standards
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hospice Care
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/pathology
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Navigation
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Social Support
  • South Carolina
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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