Oncology organizations and NCI are helping cancer patients and oncologists displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is helping to coordinate treatment services. The following resources can be found at www.asco.org/katrina:

  • Hurricane Katrina Message Board, searchable by keyword, is a physician/patient locator and communications tool. Messages are welcome from dislocated patients or from health care providers treating hurricane victims who need to consult with those patients’ cancer doctors.
  • NCI assistance: Because many displaced patients do not have internet access, ASCO and NCI are collaborating to help connect patients with alternate cancer care providers, using NCI’s toll-free operators who are aided by ASCO’s online resources. Live assistance is available at 1-800-4CANCER.
  • List of oncology practices accepting displaced patients: ASCO is maintaining a list of oncology practices in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as in several other states, that have indicated their ability to care for patients in need of urgent treatment during this time. Patients can call the listed doctors’ offices or cancer centers to learn more about receiving treatment while they are unable to access their primary cancer care facilities.

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology has a list of radiation therapy facilities around the country willing to treat patients who have been evacuated from the area. That list is available at www.astro.org/katrina.htm.

Getting medical records for these patients will be a challenge, ASTRO officials said. A consortium of providers from the Gulf Coast region have established a call center through the Western Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo, Mich., where displaced oncologists can register. This will allow the new radiation oncologist to talk to the original doctor to ensure that people with cancer continue to receive the proper treatments. That number, 1-800-636-3876.

For patients enrolled on NCI-sponsored clinical trials, and doctors who are asked to treat cancer patients who have been on an NCI-sponsored trial, NCI has established a phone number, 301-496-5725.

During the emergency, NCI will send cancer investigational drugs for displaced patients to sites that had not previously participated in trials, assist with sharing of cancer drug supplies, assist with regulatory issues, and provide protocols to physicians caring for cancer trial patients in emergency situations.

Mark Clanton, NCI deputy director for cancer care delivery systems, is coordinating the NCI efforts. “Our first and foremost concern is the safety and well-being of medical personnel and patients in the area,” Clanton said in a prepared statement. “We are marshalling all available communication and information resources to accomplish this, and are also working to help NIH address the needs of displaced researchers and others.”

An NCI Web page, http://www.cancer.gov/katrina, includes a clinical trials search form to help displaced cancer patients on clinical trials determine what specific trial they are participating in and to help them find an alternative site to continue their treatment vital information.

NCI assessing the number of displaced researchers and laboratories to help determine how their research can be resumed in a different location, the Institute said.

The American Cancer Society said it can provide patients and caregivers information on national and state-specific resources for food, shelter, transportation, and medical assistance, is available by calling 1-800-ACS-2345 or at www.cancer.org/katrina.

NIH has deployed a medical team to a field hospital in Meridian, Miss., and has offered 100 beds at the NIH Clinical Center for patients who may need to be transferred to the NIH campus. Further information from HHS is available at http://www.hhs.gov/katrina/.