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Annie Thibault and Gailya Walter at the 2015 ACS Palliative Care Forum in Charleston, SC.

Charleston’s Roper St. Francis Hosts American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Event

CHARLESTON, S.C. —June 10, 2015—The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) hosted a Patient Quality of Life Forum today at Roper St. Francis Cancer Center. The event brought together doctors, lawmakers and patients to build awareness, understanding and dialogue around the importance of palliative care and quality of life for patients living with serious chronic illnesses like cancer.

Palliative care honors patient choice about treatment goals and helps bring the family into the care process. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

“Conquering cancer and other chronic illness is as much a matter of public policy as scientific discovery,” said Nancy Cheney, ACS CAN director of government relations in South Carolina. “Today provided an opportunity for health care organizations to listen and learn from one another and to share their views and concerns.”

The forum united some of South Carolina’s leaders and decision makers in business, health care, patient advocacy, health policy and government. Speakers included: Dr. Thaddeus Bell, Thaddeus John Bell Family Practice, Founder and CEO of Closing the Gap in Health Care Inc.; Dr. Leigh Vaughn, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. Robert Lake, Director Palliative Care and Post Acute Care at Roper St. Francis; Caryn O’Hara, cancer survivor; and, Rachel Urban, American Cancer Society Health Systems Manager Hopsitals.

“Today’s program highlighted how palliative care throughout the course of an illness achieves the triple aim of better patient experience, better quality of care and lowered health care costs,” said Dr. Robert Lake. “The discussion also focused on federal legislation that would help eliminate access barriers to palliative care.”

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with the patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can add more days to patients’ lives and more life to their days.

The forum is sponsored by Roper St. Francis, Bristol Myers Squib, University of South Carolina Center for Colorectal Cancer Research, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, PhRMA, and AARP of South Carolina.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit