National Network Will Help More Smokers Quit
On November 10, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the launch of the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines, a telephone-based smoking cessation program. The toll-free access number - 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) - will put callers in touch with local programs that can help them give up tobacco. In addition, the HHS Web site - www.smokefree.gov - offers online smoking cessation advice and downloadable information. The Web site was created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with contributions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society.
The National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines state/federal partnership is the first effort of a larger collaboration that has the potential to have a major public health benefit. With one easy-to-remember number, tobacco users in every state will have the tools and resources they need to quit smoking.
"What starts as a single puff can become a death sentence for millions of Americans," said Secretary Thompson. "Americans want to quit smoking, and they should quit smoking. These initiatives will help Americans kick the habit and save their own lives." Read more
Collaboration with CMS Breaking New Ground in Cancer Clinical Trials
One of NCI's important successes over the past several years has been the establishment of partnerships with other government agencies to help improve service to the public. The announcement earlier this month about expanded coverage by Medicare for several NCI-sponsored clinical trials is an excellent example of collaborations between sister health agencies to promote better cancer care.
Under the initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay for Medicare beneficiaries to receive off-label treatment with drugs already approved for specific indications in colorectal cancer: oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), irinotecan (Camptosar), bevacizumab (Avastin), and cetuximab (Erbitux). Coverage, however, is contingent upon the beneficiary's participation in designated NCI clinical trials.
This is new territory for CMS that expands on its traditional role as a third-party health care payer. By collaborating with NCI on this venture, CMS is supporting clinical trials that should provide more evidence upon which the agency can base future payment decisions. Indeed, the trials that will be included in this initiative will attempt to answer some important clinical questions that could have a significant impact on patient care. Read more