Cancer patients have a Bill of Rights
Last updated 9/2/2021 at 12:20pm
Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Approximately 187,000 Californians are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in our state, exceeded only by heart disease. Unfortunately, in many underserved areas there is a disconnect between recent medical advances and patient access to lifesaving quality care.
There are hundreds of different types of cancer, requiring a vast array of complex treatments. Increasingly, cancer care is dependent on genetic and genomic testing individualized for each patient. Early diagnosis, appropriate choice of therapies and access to clinical trials are often keys to a lifesaving cure.
With many cancer patients unable to benefit from these advances, it is imperative that the Legislature make clear its support for prioritizing timely access to expert care. That’s why I’m a proud supporter of Senate Concurrent Resolution 11 (SCR 11), which expresses support for the Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights that proclaims cancer patients have the right to:
a) Fully understand their diagnoses and be informed about treatment options in culturally appropriate and understandable languages
b) Transparent and timely processes that ensure direct access to oncology
specialists, diagnostic testing, and accurate interpretations of those tests
c) Timely access to cancer sub-specialists who have expertise in the treatment of subtypes of cancers when complex decisions are needed
d) Direct and prompt access to medical treatments for pain management and other services that support overall health
e) Direct access to National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers and leading academic medical centers for managing complex cancers that require multiple experts or high-risk emerging therapies
f) Timely access to relevant clinical trials, medical research and cutting-edge innovation, including evidence-supported precision medicine
As your Assembly representative, I will continue my efforts to ensure accessible health care for all Californians. The Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights is an important step in that direction.