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Pillar 4: Quality Treatment & Survivorship

Ensure access to quality cancer treatment and respond to the unique needs of employees who are cancer survivors or who are caring for a cancer survivor.   

Ensure that health benefit plans provide access to cancer treatment at Commission on Cancer-accredited programs and/or National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers.

You will be asked to indicate that all health benefit plans, including self-insured or fully insured plans, provide access to cancer treatment for enrolled employees and their covered dependents at Commission on Cancer-accredited facilities and/or National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to list a few examples of either CoC-accredited facilities and/or NCI-designated cancer centers where your employees and dependents may receive cancer treatment. 

A Note about the Commission on Cancer

The Commission on Cancer (CoC), established by the American College of Surgeons, is dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. Commission on Cancer accreditation is granted only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to provide the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment and to comply with established CoC standards. Approximately 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients in the United States are treated in the more than 1,500 facilities that are accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. Click here to access a list of CoC-accredited facilities. 

A Note about National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is one of 11 agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  NCI maintains a national program that recognizes centers around the country that meet rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary cancer research.  These centers, known as NCI-designated cancer centers, are located in 34 states plus the District of Columbia.  The centers are the primary source of new discoveries into cancer’s causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. They deliver up-to-date care to patients and their families, inform healthcare professionals and the general public, and offer the potential to reach many diverse, and often underserved and understudied, patient populations. Click here to review a current list of NCI- designated cancer centers.

Sustain a workplace culture that recognizes the needs of employees who are cancer survivors themselves or who are family members/caregivers of cancer survivors.

Traditionally, a person is considered to be a “cancer survivor” from the day of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. An organization’s culture is asked to recognize this designation and offer programs and/or services to support employees during the treatment period and the time that follows treatment.

An organization must demonstrate that its company culture acknowledges the unique needs of the growing number of employees who are cancer survivors. The application provides many suggested ways to meet this requirement, not all required. However, you’ll be required to check off a sufficient number of boxes to demonstrate you are offering programming to help employees who are cancer survivors. When evaluating your application, the Accreditation Review Board (ARB) will take into consideration your organizations size, number of locations and industry.

Best Practices

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Patient and Family Advisory Council

Many employees who are also cancer survivors have been diagnosed and treated at MD Anderson, choosing our clinicians to manage their cancer journey.  These employee-patients are in a unique position to provide insight to us about their patient and survivorship experience.  Patient and family centered care has been an approach long advocated the by American Hospital Association. Planning, delivering and evaluating health care through partnerships among patients, families, and health care practitioners yields superior outcomes.  In...

Articles of Interest

Medpage Today
American Cancer Society

Research & Evidence

Commissioned by Bristol-Myers Squibb
The Economist Intelligence Unit
Warren, MD, PhD, Graham W.; Kathleen B. Cartmell, PhD; Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, PhD

Frequently Asked Questions

Pillar 4: Quality Treatment & Survivorship

What is the Commission on Cancer?

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons is dedicated to improving health care for individuals with cancer. They recognize hospitals and health care facilities that have cancer programs that offer high-quality cancer care.

What is the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). An important part of NCI's mission is to support a national network of cancer centers.

Does the requirement to provide access to treatment at Commission on Cancer-accredited or NCI-designated cancer centers mean that all of these centers must be covered?

To ensure the availability of quality care, access is required for at least some centers within a reasonable geographic vicinity of where employees live.


Manager's Kit

After you’ve told your manager about your diagnosis, it will help to have a framework for discussions about your job. Understand that your manager will probably be worried for you — and for the company. The best antidote is information, which is why we created this kit. It contains need-to-know laws relating to cancer in the workplace; successful workplace strategies; tips for dealing with your HR department; and more. We recommend detaching this page and sharing the rest of the kit with your manager. Additional resources for both you and your employer can be found at