Report: ‘Crisis’ In Cancer Care Requires New, Patient-Centered Approach

The U.S. is facing a “crisis in cancer care” due to growing demand from an aging population, a shrinking network of specialists and the increased complexity surrounding the disease and how to treat it, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Here’s the problem, according to the IOM:

In the United States, approximately 14 million people have had cancer and more than 1.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. However, more than a decade after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) first studied the quality of cancer care, the barriers to achieving excellent care for all cancer patients remain daunting. Care often is not patient-centered, many patients do not receive palliative care to manage their symptoms and side effects from treatment, and decisions about care often are not based on the latest scientific evidence.

Institute of Medicine

Institute of Medicine

The cost of cancer care also is rising faster than many sectors of medicine–having increased to $125 billion in 2010 from $72 billion in 2004–and is projected to reach $173 billion by 2020. Rising costs are making cancer care less affordable for patients and their families and are creating disparities in patients’ access to high-quality cancer care.

There also are growing shortages of health professionals skilled in providing cancer care, and the number of adults age 65 and older–the group most susceptible to cancer–is expected to double by 2030, contributing to a 45 percent increase in the number of people developing cancer. The current care delivery system is poorly prepared to address the care needs of this population, which are complex due to altered physiology, functional and cognitive impairment, multiple coexisting diseases, increased side effects from treatment, and greater need for social support.

The report recommends several strategies for improvement, none of which seem terribly radical. They include: better communication with patients and their families, new models of team-based cancer care for a more coordinated response, a more evidence-based approach to medical decision-making, better, faster data gathering and more accessible, affordable care and treatment.

The report says some of these improvements, notably better accessibility and affordability, should come when the Affordable Care Act is in full force.

But, the IOM news release says, “Because much of the law has not been implemented, these issues will need to be revisited once the law’s full impact is known.”

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  • tennesseetuxedo59

    cannabis is being ignored but it is the answer to this crisis

    • info

      Well, cannabis may help sufferers manage the symptoms and the emotional effects of the disease (as well as the side-effects caused by some of its treatments), but I don’t think it can address the wider issues with how the health care system is organized and administered.

      • tennesseetuxedo59

        it would cut health care in half people wouldnt get cancer if they ate pot and pot cures cancer and eases sufferring

    • ACS postdoctoral fellow

      This statement and the followup are the most ridiculous statements I have ever read about cancer treatment. Cancer occurs when mutations arise and cells escape normal processes which prohibit growth, cancer is uncontrolled growth. To suggest that a single herb will remedy cancers to the point of cutting the cost of healthcare in half is an insult to those who suffer and die from cancer, those who treat cancer, and those who study the underlying mechanisms that drive cancer development. Cancer is a complex disease, there is no panacea. IF you claim cannabis to be this cure all tennesseetuxedo59, then cite the scientifically reviewed literature to support your statement.

      • tennesseetuxedo59

        an insult to the medical profession and big pharma. radiation causes cancer chemo is poison. your chances of getting cancer are 100 times as likely after chemo. a study of 5000 at the Carneggie Institute people showed an over 60%less chance of getting cancer period. pot kills cancer all kinds .rick smpson explains. google cannabis oil and cancer comes up. theres studies in israel and across the globe .watch dave tripplet video. and more science is backing my claims. a maintenance dose of pot would cut cancer and disease in half. all diseases big pharma make a fortune off cancer when 1 pound of pot cures most cancers