Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Cancer' Category

A Neurosurgeon and A Patient

The moving story of Paul Kalanithi. That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s […]

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What is Precision Medicine?

In his State of the Union, the President said that he was looking for additional funds for precision medicine. What would these funds be used for and how much money are we talking about? The details were revealed last week. The Presdient describes precision medicine as “delivering the right treatments, at the right time, every […]

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Cancer Care Myths

Below are excerpts from a recent Health Affairs paper by Goldman and Philipson (2014): Myth #1: The War on Cancer has been a failure.  Survival rates for all cancers increased by almost four years during the period 1988–2000. Myth 2: Detection, Not Treatment, Accounts For Most Of The Survival Gains.  During 1988–2000 almost 80 percent of […]

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Trends in Cancer Care Near the End of Life

The Dartmouth Atlas released a new report describing how end-of-life cancer care is changing over time. Their analysis uses data from a 20 percent sample of all Medicare beneficiaries who died between the ages of 66 and 99 years during 2010, who had cancer diagnosis with a poor prognosis. The authors find that: Deaths in […]

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Thoughts on IOM’s ‘Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care’ Report

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) makes a number of recommendations on how to improve cancer care in their 2013 report.  I have listed them all here.  For some of these recommendations, I have comments below. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other payers should design, implement, and evaluate innovative payment models that incentivize […]

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Access to Oncology Care

Oftentimes, health services research measure access as the distance between a patient and the nearest provider of a given type (e.g., hospital, physician).  This issue of access is particularly relevant for individuals with cancer, since cancer care typically requires supervisions from specialist oncologists.  In most cases, health services researchers assume that individuals located far from […]

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Cost of Cancer in Europe

In 2008, 2.45 million people were diagnosed with cancer and 1.23 million died because of cancer in the European Union (EU). What is the economic burden of cancer?  A paper by Luengo-Fernandez (2013) aims to estimate just this quantity.  They find that: Cancer cost the EU €126 billion in 2009…Across the EU, the health-care costs […]

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Cancer screening rates

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes screeening rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers over the past 25 years.  I have reproduced the charts below.  I wonder how the USPSTF recommendation in November 2009 that women ages 40 to 49 should not undergo screening unless they are in a high-risk group will affect mammography rates in the most recent […]

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Cancer Incidence and Deaths in Europe

Which cancers have the highest incidence rates in Europe?  Which ones cause the most deaths?  According to an article by Karim-Kos et al. (2008), here is the answer:

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Fraudulent Cancer Research: An Exception or the Tip of the Iceberg

Yesterday, 60 Minutes reported on Dr. Anil Potti, researcher at Duke University.  Dr. Potti supposedly offered cancer patients improved cancer treatments.  These recommendations, however, were based on falsified data. “Five years ago, Duke University announced it had found the holy grail of cancer research. They’d discovered how to match a patient’s tumor to the best chemotherapy […]

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