In an effort to highlight cancer care inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic, ASCO has launched the Interactive Map of Oncology, a data visualization tool that allows users to explore geographic distribution of systemic and socioeconomic factors that influence cancer care delivery in the United States. Users can filter data on population demographics and risk factors by location overlaid with COVID-specific data from the COVID-19 in Oncology Registry (also known as the ASCO Registry) and other authoritative sources.
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO
“The new Interactive Map of Oncology mashes up cancer and COVID-19 data sources in a novel way, presenting ASCO Registry data alongside public data for U.S. population demographics, socioeconomic factors, disease and risk information, as well as details on the oncology workforce,” explained ASCO Chief Executive Officer Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO. “We can now better identify inequities and steer resources to help us better serve all patients.”
In addition, physicians can use the tool to better understand the patient population they serve. Because demographics related to age, gender, cancer type, and risk factors can be easily filtered, prior to patient visits, physicians can use the map data to discern key factors proximate to their location and close any knowledge gaps related to social, economic, and other area-based characteristics that may impact a patient’s health and well-being.
According to the 2022 State of Cancer Care in America data published by ASCO, only 10.5% of 13,365 oncologists surveyed—defined as physicians active in patient care who report medical oncology or hematology/oncology as their primary specialty—practiced in rural areas of the United States. ASCO’s Interactive Map of Oncology uses a two-panel visualization technique that allows users to see statistics in a way that better allows for a sense of scale, more fully highlighting care inequities. When adding the COVID-related data, underserved regions with high COVID-19 and high cancer incidence and low vaccination rates become more apparent.
The ASCO Registry was launched in April 2020 to help the oncology community learn more about patterns, symptoms, and severity of COVID-19 among patients with cancer, as well as treatment delays and outcomes. The registry collects longitudinal data on more than 6,000 patients from about 70 U.S. practices. The map blends registry data with timely national data. The number of new COVID-19 cases is updated daily, and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is updated hourly. Information about vaccination rates by county and state is also available and updated periodically.
Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO
“The ASCO Registry is improving the understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on treatment plans and outcomes for patients with cancer,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO. “This meticulous collection of data from practices across the country has already begun to inform us about commonalities and best practices across cancer types.”
For more information on the initial report from the ASCO Registry, read the JCO Oncology Practice article.
Both the Interactive Map of Oncology and the ASCO Registry’s Data Dashboard provide visual representations of data including age at COVID-19 diagnosis, race/ethnicity, and cancer type. The Data Dashboard illustrates COVID severity by population demographics, using de-identified baseline data and follow-up data. Users can filter the existing charts, tables, and graphs in the Data Dashboard according to factors such as smoking status, comorbidities, and cancer type.
Both the ASCO Registry and the Data Dashboard are supported by Conquer Cancer’s COVID-19 Initiative.