Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can We Afford The Cancer Care Of The Future?

Date:
May 27, 2009
Source:
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Summary:
When a cancer patient and his or her doctor discuss the value of a treatment option, the conversation usually centers on a consideration of the treatment's medical benefits versus its possible side effects for the patient. Increasingly, however, as the already high costs of cancer care continue to rise, a full view of the patient's welfare must also take into account the economic impact of the treatment on the patient and his or her family.

When a cancer patient and his or her doctor discuss the value of a treatment option, the conversation usually centers on a consideration of the treatment's medical benefits versus its possible side effects for the patient. Increasingly, however, as the already high costs of cancer care continue to rise, a full view of the patient's welfare must also take into account the economic impact of the treatment on the patient and his or her family.

Additionally, beyond its clear impact on patients, the increasing cost of cancer care also presents challenges to other stakeholders involved in the development and delivery of care.

"Cancer care is one of the most expensive areas of health care today, and the cost of that care is increasing steadily, for patients and for society as a whole," says Neal J. Meropol, M.D., director of the gastrointestinal cancer and gastrointestinal tumor risk assessment programs at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Meropol, who is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Cost of Care Task Force and lead author on the upcoming ASCO Guidance Statement on the Cost of Cancer Care, offered his analysis of the problem in a talk presented at the ASCO annual meeting in Orlando today.

"As physicians, we have a responsibility to understand the impact that the increasing cost of cancer care has on everyone involved," Meropol notes. "In particular, we need to be able to discuss with our patients the impact that high out-of-pocket expenses might have on them and their families, however difficult that conversation might be. More and more, cost considerations have an appropriate role in the assessment of treatment options."

According to Meropol, other stakeholders affected by the rising cost of cancer care in addition to patients include employers who must remain competitive while subsidizing their employees' health care, health insurance providers who must watch their bottom lines while deciding which treatments to pay for and at what level, physicians who must offer guidance for their patients in choosing among treatments, including new drugs that might offer modest survival benefits but at significant additional cost, and the pharmaceutical industry, which hopes to earn a profit from the sale of innovative drugs that can cost $1 billion to research and develop.

Meropol observes that many of the costly new cancer drugs now coming to market are highly targeted in their action, often quite effective but only in a subset of patients. While these drugs anticipate the dream of personalized medicine, their high costs must be shared over a smaller potential pool of patients, perhaps threatening the future of this promising new direction in medicine.

Rising costs also have the potential to widen the disparities that already exist in cancer outcomes among different populations, adding an ethical dimension to the problem.

"Rising costs may be a key impediment to reaching our societal goal of providing high quality cancer care to all citizens," Meropol says. Going forward, the challenges in confronting the cost-of-cancer-care issue are substantial. Patients and their physicians both feel ill-equipped to consider treatment costs in the clinical setting, and society has yet to address this multifaceted issue in a comprehensive way. Still, Meropol says, we have no alternative but to begin the search for answers now. The increasing economic burden posed by cancer-care costs on patients and their families – and on society – is too great to ignore.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Can We Afford The Cancer Care Of The Future?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526140751.htm>.
Fox Chase Cancer Center. (2009, May 27). Can We Afford The Cancer Care Of The Future?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526140751.htm
Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Can We Afford The Cancer Care Of The Future?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526140751.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins