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M. D. Anderson study predicts dramatic growth in cancer rates among US elderly, minorities
Date:4/29/2009

nted in such studies, and, therefore, vulnerable to sub-optimal cancer treatment. Simultaneously, over the past decade in particular, the cost of cancer care is growing at a rate that's not sustainable.

"The fact that these two groups have been under-represented in clinical research participation, yet their incidence of cancer is growing so rapidly, reflects the need for therapeutic trials to be more inclusive and address issues that are particularly relevant to both populations," said Smith. "In addition, as we design clinical trials, we need to seek not only the treatment that will prolong survival, but prolong survival at a reasonable cost to patients. These are two issues that oncologists need to be much more concerned about and attuned to."

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the shortage of health care professionals predicted. For example, according to a workforce assessment by American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the shortage of medical oncologists will impact the health care system by 2020. Smith said ASCO and other professional medical organizations beyond oncology are aware of the problem, and are actively engaged in efforts to try and grow the number of physicians, as well as encourage the careers of nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are part of the continuum of care, to best accommodate the increase in demand forecasted.

"There's no doubt the increasing incidence of cancer is a very important societal issue. There will not be one solution to this problem, but many different issues that need to be addressed to prepare for these changes," said Smith. "I'm afraid if we don't come to grips with this as a society, health care may be the next bubble to burst."


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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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