Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights

On August 19, 2021, the California State Assembly unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 11, the Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights. The resolution, while non-binding, is a first-of-its-kind measure and a that lays out six key rights that every patient with cancer in California should have.

  • Cancer patients have a right to understand fully their diagnoses and be informed about treatment options in culturally appropriate and understandable language
  • Cancer patients have a right to transparent and timely processes that ensure access to contracting oncology specialists, diagnostic testing, and accurate interpretations of those tests
  • Cancer patients have a right to contracting cancer subspecialists who have expertise in the treatment of their subtypes of cancers when complex decisions are needed
  • Cancer patients have a right to medical treatments for pain management and other services that support their overall health
  • Cancer patients have a right to contracting National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and leading academic medical centers for the management of complex cancers that require multiple experts or high-risk or emerging therapies
  • Cancer patients have a right to relevant clinical trials, medical research, and cutting-edge innovation, including evidence-supported precision medicine

The campaign was supported by Cancer Care is Different, a coalition led by City of Hope Cancer Center to improve patient access to advanced cancer care in California. The hope is that with California taking the lead, other states will consider adopting a similar “bill of rights” for patients with cancer.