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Rationing of Some Cancer Care

Posted 5/28/2013

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  This is about to get really interesting. I am stunned to see the preview of this study from Penn Medicine about surveying attitudes re cancer care. The report, to be presented at ASCO in a few days, indicates that a majority of the general public, cancer doctors, and patients support not offering/paying for treatments that do not improve survival or quality of life.

  This immediately gets very complicated. What counts as improving survival or quality of life? Who makes the decisions? What does this mean for individual physician/patient relationships and conversations? Isn't it easier (and of course it is) to hold this belief in a large policy way, but to want anything and everything offered for ourselves of someone whom we love? No doubt this is just the beginning of a difficult and intense national discussion; we need to have it, and we, as a country, will need to find some common ground as we move forward in the changing world of health care.

  Here is the beginning from Eureka Alert and a link to read more:

Penn Medicine study finds broad support for rationing of  some types of cancer care

PHILADELPHIA – The majority of cancer doctors, patients, and members of the general public support cutting health care costs by refusing to pay for drugs that don't improve survival or quality of life, according to results of a new study that will be presented by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago in early June (Abstract #6518).

The Penn Medicine team surveyed 326 adult cancer patients receiving treatment at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, a random sample of 891 adults in the general public, and 250 oncologists across the United States during 2012 to probe their opinions about tactics for controlling costs associated with cancer care.

"We found that the majority of respondents considered Medicare spending a big or moderate problem, and many suggested that Medicare could spend less without causing harm," said the study's lead author, Keerthi Gogineni, MD, MSHP, an instructor in the division of Hematology- Oncology in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "We know that cancer patients and their doctors face decisions every day that stand to raise health care costs without conferring much benefit to patients, and our survey has identified some common themes in how these groups of stakeholders might propose to lower costs of care while still protecting patients."

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-05/uops-pms051513.php

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