Three Ways to Make Cancer Care More Affordable

The malady of rising medical costs is acute, especially in the field of oncology. As populations age, new cancer cases are expected to reach 21.4 million in 2030, while treatment costs are projected to increase 40 percent by 2020.

The malady of rising medical costs is acute, especially in the field of oncology. As populations age, new cancer cases are expected to reach 21.4 million in 2030, while treatment costs are projected to increase 40 percent by 2020.

Is there a remedy? In the February 14 issue of the Lancet Oncology, doctors Ronan J. Kelly and Thomas J. Smith of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore suggest that costs can be contained without increasing risk to patients. We spoke with Dr. Smith.

The United States spends twice what any other developed country does on health care: $2.7 trillion a year. Oncology has the fastest rate of increase in treatment costs. Even so, I would imagine the instinct of any patient faced with a cancer diagnosis would be: "Spare no expense." Isn't talk of cost reduction a charged subject?

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Source: National Geographic