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Groups Develop Quality Measures for Breast, Colorectal Cancer Care

By CQ Staff

August 16, 2006 -- The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network released details this week on seven quality measures developed to assess care for breast and colorectal cancer patients.

The seven measures, which were published on Tuesday, include recommendations on therapy for patients with tumors larger than 1 centimeter, breast radiation therapy for patients under 70, post-operative chemotherapy for patients under 80, and the amount of time for treating a patient with chemotherapy after diagnosis.

Based on previous measures developed by the ASCO and recommendations by current the NCCN guidelines, the groups examined the measures in regards to clinical impact, scientific acceptability, usefulness, potential for improvement, reliability, and feasibility.

"These measures build on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines, which comprehensively represent the standard of oncology care in the United States," said David C. Hohn, chairman of the NCCN Board of Directors, in a statement. "This is only the beginning of an important collaboration, which will provide measures to evaluate the quality of care delivered to the thousands of cancer patients who rely upon us each and every day."

The ASCO and the NCCN will continue to test the measures and update them regularly to reflect new findings. The groups say that if the measures were appropriately implemented, they could serve as tools for any future pay-for-performance programs.

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