Approximately 20% of Americans live in rural areas, which means they have less access to state-of-the-art medical care, specifically cancer care, says Heifetz. This means these patients will also get a delay in optimal care.
The Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center put together a system addressing the 4 major malignancies that comprise 80% of all cancers, which are breast cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and genitourinary cancer. The center partnered with the University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to be a part of their network, which has 4 remote facilities.
Every week, virtual tumor boards are conducted in each of these 4 malignancies for community physicians to gain insight from academic oncologists on patient cases, recent clinical data, and more. These tumor boards became the culture definer for this program, Heifetz concludes.