Dr Kashyap Patel provides an update on the exciting developments at ASCO22

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Kashyap Patel, MD, CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates, current President of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) and Associate Editor of Evidence-based oncologyforeshadows its inclusion as part of The ASCO station 2022 Narratives in Oncology class, an annual initiative that recognizes changemakers who have made a significant contribution to community oncology over the past year.

He also discusses updated data that will be presented this year at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting on the No One Left Alone (NOLA) initiative, first presented at Community Oncology Alliance’s Community Oncology Conference earlier this year, which aims to remove barriers and reduce gaps in community oncology care disparities, including financial toxicity, access to testing, and access to clinical trials.

Transcription

Can you tell us about your recognition this year as part of The ASCO station‘s Narratives in Oncology?

Thank you for this question. I was quite pleasantly surprised about a month ago when I received an email from Ron Piana of The ASCO station and he said, since 2010, ASCO recognizes 10 leaders among all members as leaders in the field of oncology, and they do life stories in a section called Stories in Oncology. I was quite pleasantly surprised that I would probably be the first community oncologist. I’m not sure I can say 100%. I know that E. Donnall Thomas, MD, the very famous doctor who started bone marrow transplantation and won a Nobel Prize, was one of them [in 2012]. So to be in the league with someone like that, I was so excited.

So they asked me to do my life sketch, and I think they’re doing it because of my contribution to community oncologists and how community oncologists try to survive, and how we play our part , starting with politics, science, disparities, access to care, and one in all of it. So I think based on my public profile, writings I’ve written, multiple presentations, summaries, I think that’s what they may have led to the conclusion that I could be one of Narratives in Oncology features for leaders.

Can you give us an update on the NOLA initiative, which you presented for the first time to the COA this year?

NOLA has become almost like a movement now. It means No One Left Alone. I conceptualized this last year when we saw the huge disparities in access to care, in access to testing, in access to screening, in access to clinical trials and the social determinants of health. It started as a sort of office lounge chat with some of my friends. One of them is Holly Pisarik, JD, who suggested NOLA. We have started to address the issue of access to care with financial toxicity, which you very kindly posted on AJMC.com.

And since then, we have published a publication in which we have followed almost 350 patients to perform whole exome sequencing or NGS. [next-generation sequencing] test. This document was released about 6 weeks ago Targeted oncology, which summarizes the results. We have also shown that a community oncology clinic can break down all screening barriers. We have increased our detection rate from 30% to nearly 85%. My goal is to reach close to 100%.

The conclusions were that the genomic findings allowed us to make changes in between 20 and 30 patients who would otherwise have been treated with traditional treatments. There is a second piece that we made. And now we collect very comprehensive information on the social determinants of health to identify unmet health care needs, such as cancer screening. I was surprised to find that we found nearly 300 patients who needed screening that was not working.

The second thing we found was that about 1 in 4 patients in at least our geography had food insecurity or the insecurity of not being able to have enough money to pay utility bills and fear homelessness. On the first day of data collection, we found 3 homeless patients; they lived in their car and came for chemotherapy. Thus, we were able to partner with local non-profit organizations.

I believe that by the end of the summer of this year, we will be able to show that by collaborating with community resources and multiple stakeholders and nonprofits, we can tackle all the pillars of disparities . The last is the clinical trial, and we are working on that as well.

So I’m very happy that by the end of this year we’ll have a few more publications that really pave the way, almost creating the cookbook or recipe book on how to address disparities in the small community clinic .

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