The recent government proposal to “experiment” with cancer treatments will harm patients and the doctors who treat them.
Proposed changes to Medicare’s drug program will force physicians to take a “cookie-cutter” approach to treating cancer patients.
There are more than 200 different types of cancers, and every patient responds differently to his care. The ability to personalize treatment has led to unprecedented survival rates for Americans battling cancer, which would be in jeopardy if Medicare switches to a more impersonal approach.
While patients would suffer from not receiving care that’s tailor-made for their needs, the changes could also force community oncology clinics like ours to close. This could send patients to hospitals that often cost more for the same treatment.
The experiment is unlikely to realize the cost savings the government claims it will produce. A similar experiment, chronicled in the Journal of Oncology Practice ended up tripling spending on cancer drugs.
The cost of cancer care must be addressed, and we’re working on ways that don’t sacrifice patient care. In contrast, the government conjured up this plan without any input from patients, doctors or anyone in the health care community.
We urge Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott to say no to government control of cancer care, and yes to thoughtful solutions that help all cancer patients receive the personalized treatment they need.
CHARLES HOLLADAY, M.D.
Charleston Cancer Center