Physicians and other health care providers are just beginning to talk with patients about health care costs and quality. On the leading edge of this trend are oncologists, some of whom are developing tools to stimulate these conversations with cancer patients.
In 2013, Nick Mulcahy reported for Medscape that oncologists at the Duke Cancer Center used the term “financial toxicity” to describe the high cost of cancer care and its effect on patients.
“Out-of-pocket expenses related to treatment are akin to physical toxicity, in that costs can diminish quality of life and impede delivery of the highest quality care,” Mulcahy wrote, citing a pair of articles in Oncology by S. Yousuf Zafar, M.D., a medical oncologist at the Duke Cancer Center, and Amy P. Abernethy, M.D., a medical oncologist at the Duke University School of Medicine. Continue reading
Up to 15 journalists will be selected to spend four days on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to increase their understanding of and ability to report accurately on complex scientific findings, provide insight into the work of cancer researchers and to better localize cancer-related stories.
Opioid addiction is at crisis levels in the United States. Over two million people are addicted to opioids, which include prescription painkillers, heroin and morphine. The total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past 25 years.
Data from the American Society of Pain Medicine (ASPM) indicate that of the 21.5 million Americans age 12 years or older who had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million involved prescription pain relievers.
The trend has led to more emergency department admissions and a tripling of overdose deaths. Continue reading
First there was the “dubious milestone,” as The New York Times called it, of black women for the first time facing an equal rate of breast cancer as white women. Then last week, a headline on the sharp uptick in the death rate among middle-class, white Americans, a finding startling enough to merit front-page treatment in The Washington Post.
It’s no secret that there are racial disparities in cancer rates, longevity and other areas, so why the recent headlines? Continue reading