Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Blog, Breast cancer, Colorectal cancer, Lung cancer, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Prostate cancer | 0 comments

Did you know…

  • In a study conducted in 2012, 69% of patients diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and 81% of those diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer did not understand that chemotherapy was not at all likely to cure their cancer?
  • That a national survey showed physicians asked patients what they want in their care only ½ the time?
  • That patients ask five or fewer questions in the 15 minutes they get to spend with their physician during an appointment?

These are just a few of the many studies cited in a report released September 10, 2013, by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  In that report, the IOM describes cancer care in the US as

“in crisis due to a growing demand for cancer care, increasing complexity of treatment, a shrinking workforce, and rising costs.”

Why should we care what the IOM says?

The main reason is the IOM is a non-profit, non-governmental organization created in 1970 by Congress.  Its purpose is to provide unbiased opinion on health and medicine.

The report starts with an extremely strong statement:

“Changes across the board are urgently needed to improve the quality of cancer care. All stakeholders – including cancer care teams, patients and their families, researchers, quality metrics developers, and payers, as well as HHS, other federal agencies, and industries – must reevaluate their current roles and responsibilities in cancer care and work together to develop a higher quality cancer care delivery system.”

Why? What is wrong with cancer care in the US?

This report describes:

1)   An aging population that increases the number of people getting cancer.

2)   A shortage of physicians.

3)   Silos of care in which health care providers do not communicate with each other.

4)   Physicians who are not trained in oncology using outdated treatment plans.

5)   Few financial incentives to spend time.

6)   The cost of cancer care increased from $72 billion in 2004 to $125 billion in 2010…projections for 10 years are at $173 billion.

7)   Clinical trial data used for FDA approval of medications not done specifically on aged population…

Just to name a few…

Have you had any of these experiences in your cancer care? Share your experiences here.

Next post will dive into some of the recommendations from the IOM.