VA's National Precision Oncology Program (NPOP) was launched in 2016 as part of the White House's Cancer Moonshot Initiative to eliminate cancer. Using precision oncology enables VA physicians to better select cancer treatment strategies for each individual Veteran. Oncologists at VA use molecular testing - which analyzes a patient's genomic profile - to more accurately determine a Veteran's cancer prognosis and the best course of treatment.
- Ask your VA oncologist about precision oncology and molecular testing.
- Learn more about VA's National Precision Oncology Program here.
Through a partnership with the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, the National Oncology (NOP) service is expanding TeleOncology access to Veterans across the nation with the National TeleOncology service (NTO). NTO oncologists are affiliated with NCI Designated Cancer Centers and specialize in the type of oncology they treat. TeleOncology provides cancer care virtually through telecommunication technology, connecting patient and provider across great distances. NTO delivers cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatment for Veterans via telemedicine.
VA uses a “hub-and-spoke” model for TeleOncology, with the main hub based in the Durham VA Medical Center. VA cancer specialists around the country work through NTO from their local VA Medical Center office, providing care virtually to a selected spoke site. Patients can connect with providers two different ways - they can either travel to a spoke site to connect with clinical video telehealth (CVT) or connect from their home using an internet-connected device with VA Video Connect (VVC).
- Ask your primary care provider if TeleOncology is an option for you.
- Learn more about NTO here.
- Read about how NTO is making an impact.
- Meet your NTO team.
Cancer clinical trials enable testing of novel treatments to establish the evidence for oncology care thereby speeding the delivery of new treatments to the clinic to help cancer patients. These research studies not only explore new ways to treat cancer but also have the potential to improve quality of life for patients. Many of today's successful cancer treatments are the result of past clinical trials. Through clinical trials, doctors determine which new treatments are safe, effective, and better than current treatment options.
When diagnosed with cancer, patients are presented with a variety of treatment options. Clinical trials are one important treatment option that patients should consider with their provider. During a clinical trial, you give approval to add information about your cancer, the treatment and cancer related genomic and molecular biology information to VA's Cancer Registry. The information gained through clinical trials expands our understanding of different cancers and improves the quality of care our Veterans receive.
- Ask your VA oncologist if there is a clinical trial that is appropriate for you.
- Learn about the phases and types of clinical trials by viewing the flyers here.
- Read about clinical trials being offered at VA.
In 2019, the Imagenetics program at Sanford Health and VA teamed up to offer pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing to current VA patients at no cost. PGx testing analyzes genes to learn how you may respond to commonly prescribed medications used to treat pain, mental health, selected cancers and infections, cardiovascular, neurologic, and inflammatory disorders. This information helps your doctors and pharmacists decide the best treatment options for you.
Any Veteran patient (with few exceptions) is eligible to receive PGx testing through this program which is available at select VA medical centers.
PGx testing helps reduce the trial-and-error process of trying different drugs in varying doses. Side-effects can be reduced when PGx testing is used because VA providers are alerted of a potential “drug-gene” interaction when ordering medications.
- Ask your doctor if PGx testing is right for you.
- Discover more about PGx on our FAQ page.
- Watch our video explaining PGx testing here.
- Not sure what PGx means for you? Learn more about PGx by downloading our patient education guide!