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Challenges of Rural Cancer Care in the United States.

Charlton M, Schlichting J, Chioreso C, Ward M, Vikas P. Challenges of Rural Cancer Care in the United States. Oncology (Williston Park, N.Y.). 2015 Sep 1; 29(9):633-40.

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Rural cancer patients face many challenges in receiving care, including limited availability of cancer treatments and cancer support providers (oncologists, social workers, mental healthcare providers, palliative care specialists, etc), transportation barriers, financial issues, and limited access to clinical trials. Oncologists and other cancer care providers experience parallel challenges in delivering care to their rural cancer patients. Although no one approach fully addresses the many challenges of rural cancer care, a number of promising strategies and interventions have been developed that transcend the issues associated with long travel distances. These include outreach clinics, virtual tumor boards, teleoncology and other telemedicine applications, workforce recruitment and retention initiatives, and provider and patient education programs. Given the projected increase in demand for cancer care due to the aging population and increasing number of Americans with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, expansion of these efforts and development of new approaches are critical to ensure access to high-quality care.

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