Navigation Links
Is Cancer Community in Alignment About 'Cure' and 'Costs'? NCCN Conference Panel Asks

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 7, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cancer's two most compelling words these days are "cure" and "costs," and each holds capacity to create patient heartache and promise, according to roundtable participants at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's 13th Annual Conference, March 5-9.

When doctors recommend cancer treatments, best practices dictate that they follow guidelines created by NCCN and other professional medical organizations. Currently, such guidelines do not include treatment-cost data. Leonard Saltz, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said doctors traditionally assumed "we must be very sanctimonious and above the idea of considering cost." But panelists unanimously agreed -- and so did the majority of the audience by a show of hands -- that cost data should be appended to guidelines.

Panelist Alice Gosfield, an attorney with more than a decade of experience in oncology issues, condemned as "basically wrong" widespread reimbursement practices that profit doctors more who prescribe the most expensive drugs. She said that while it might be unfair to shoulder clinicians with the burden of factoring costs into a patient's treatment plan, insurers and others will be forced to make such decisions, and in the process "there will be blood."

Guidelines help oncologists evaluate treatments and reflect evolving professional consensus. NCCN's guidelines are the "Mercedes" of treatment standards, said David S. Ettinger, M.D., of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. In the future, adding cost data might help doctors choose between two chemotherapy regimens for colorectal cancer that, according to Saltz, are equally effective. Yet one costs $60,000 extra over the course of 10 months of treatment.

Aetna's James D. Cross, M.D., said that Aetna covers evidence-based treatments regardless of cost. "We exclude experimental treatments from most plans," he explained, but always reimburse experimental treatment costs for cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials. "Depending upon what the evidence states, what the state of the art is, what the NCCN guidelines recommend, that is what we cover."

Cost has suddenly become more crucial to cancer patients, said Nancy Davenport-Ennis of the National Patient Advocate Foundation. Logging 6.8 million inquiries from patients in 2007, the foundation's analysis shows 70 percent of patient dilemmas involved cost. That compares with only 38 percent of callers complaining of a cost problem the previous year.

As for whether the C-word -- "cure" -- belongs in doctor-patient discussions, Saltz argued that doctors sometimes "sugarcoat the reality" in employing the phrase "progression-free survival" to describe new cancer drugs' effectiveness. Doctors understand something patients don't, he said: the phrase refers specifically to the time span between the start of treatment and the moment the tumor begins to grow again. Doctors should not impart false hope when they know "the person is not going to live longer." He urged replacing the phrase with terminology that avoids the word "survival."

Ettinger, by contrast, defended incremental improvements in treatment that may extend patients' lifespans by only weeks or months. "Are we making advances?" he asked. "Yes. Is it slow? Yes."

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives.

For more information, visit

The NCCN Member Institutions are: City of Hope, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Cancer Institute, Memphis, TN; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN.

SOURCE National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Case Western Reserve University researchers identify colorectal cancer gene
2. Allegro Diagnostics Closes $4 Million Round to Develop and Commercialize Lung Cancer Molecular Diagnostics Based on Gene Expression
3. MGT Comments on American Cancer Societys Decision to Endorse CT Colonography
4. QED International Associates Announces Changes to the HealthShares(TM) Composite and HealthShares(TM) Cancer Indexes
5. Fugitive cancer cells can be blocked by stopping blood cells that aid them
6. Colonoscopy Used to Identify and Remove Flat Colon Lesions: Flat Colon Lesions More Common and More Likely to Be Cancer According to JAMA Study
7. MultiVu Video Feed: New National Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Issued by the American Cancer Society
8. Sharing Miracles Television Program to Feature Mountain Climber and Cancer Survivor Sean Swarner
9. ASGE Re-Launches Colon Cancer Awareness Web Site www.Screen4coloncancer.Org for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
10. Cell recycling protects tumor cells from anti-cancer therapy
11. Drugs like aspirin could reduce breast cancer and help existing sufferers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ... announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. ... you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... system that we intend to develop to enable prevention of a major side ... severe hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at ... D.C., for the 49th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology ... the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the Health ... Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares best practices ... , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN members by ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Farm Forward joins ... other leading institutions in announcing the launch of the Leadership Circle , ... animals are raised for food. , Founding members of the Leadership Circle also ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)...  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX) researchers were part ... way to use nonlinear optical imaging to confirm the ... A presentation ... how researchers from BioPharmX and the Wellman Center for ... suite of imaging techniques in what is called "Pharmacokinetic ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017   West Pharmaceutical ... innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, today shared the ... ID Adapter for improving the intradermal administration of polio ... Skin Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by Dr. ... Polio Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and recently published ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Oct. 4, 2017 OBP Medical ... illuminating medical devices, today announced regulatory approval from ... Agency (or Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA)) ... cordless surgical retractor with integrated LED light source ... illumination and exposure of a tissue pocket or ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: