Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cigna's New Oncology Program

CIGNA HealthCare Launches a New Oncology Condition Management Program

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 31, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

To help those at-risk or living with cancer manage and treat their complex condition, CIGNA HealthCare today announced a new CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program, which will provide prevention, wellness and condition management assistance for members.

According to the Institutes of Medicine (IOM), approximately half of all men and one-third of women will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Advances in detection and treatment have greatly improved chances of recovery and survival, but even after overcoming the illness, cancer survivors must often manage potentially lifelong consequences and risks associated with their illness. "Cancer is a complex condition that can significantly impact a member and his or her family physically, emotionally and financially," said Jeff Kang, MD, chief medical officer, CIGNA HealthCare. "Our goals are to both help prevent cancer and help members living with cancer - no matter what stage of recovery or treatment they are in - to survive or improve their quality of life while managing their condition." The new program, which will be available for plans that take effect beginning January 1, 2007, aims to support cancer victims and survivors through prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The program will provide access to specialized nurses, health educators and behavioral health experts equipped to assist members and their families with preventive care, understanding treatment options, coordination of care and lifestyle issues affected by their condition.
Members who are diagnosed with cancer will be enrolled in CIGNA's specialty case management program to work with a nurse case manager, who can help explain treatment options recommended by providers and coordinate care among different providers.

Members undergo a comprehensive screening to develop a personalized plan, and they will have access to web-based tools to help them effectively manage their care. The costs of cancer care are significant. According to the National Cancer Institute, direct medical costs for cancer care in 2004 totaled more than $72 billion. When considering the impact of indirect costs, such as lost productivity due to illness or premature death, the total economic burden reached $190 billion in 2004. The CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program will offer members support to help diagnose potential cancerous conditions early and prevent the development of the disease. CIGNA HealthCare nurses and health educators will actively remind at-risk members overdue for recommended screenings to schedule appropriate tests. They will also provide counsel and support to help at-risk members adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of new cancer cases can be reduced and many cancer deaths prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles and by making cancer screening, information and referral services available and accessible.

For example, periodic screening tests for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers can reduce the number of deaths from these diseases by finding them early, when they are most treatable. In some cases, screening tests can detect treatable precancerous conditions, and therefore prevent the development of cancer.
The program will also address the needs of members who have recently completed treatment or have ongoing maintenance treatment and medication needs. Specialized health educators will work with members to help them learn more about medically indicated health screenings, managing potential side effects and needed lifestyle changes. The nurse case managers will assist members and their families in coping with the emotional impact of their condition, including helping them receive family counseling, organizing and preparing for treatment and end-of-life planning, as needed.

The CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program will draw upon data and resources available through CIGNA HealthCare and CIGNA business units specializing in behavioral health, pharmacy management and disability management.

With the integration of information from all these health-related areas, CIGNA HealthCare clinicians will be able to understand the full scope of a member's condition and care to coordinate the appropriate resources from many health disciplines for the member.

CIGNA HealthCare, headquartered in Bloomfield, CT, provides medical benefits plans, dental coverage, behavioral health coverage, pharmacy benefits and products and services that integrate and analyze information to support consumerism and health advocacy.

"CIGNA HealthCare" refers to various operating subsidiaries of CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI). Products and services are provided by these operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA Corporation.

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