An awful lot of oncology testing and treatment is futile, helter-skelter, wrong, and harmful, with costs spiraling patients into bankruptcy even as they produce outcomes the same as if no treatments were ever delivered.
That's the sense one gets from reading the Institute of Medicine's hefty new report on cancer care and talking with the authors, who seem like they're frustrated, angry, and a bit shell-shocked at all the work that will be required to change the system. A few examples:
See Also: IOM: Cancer Care System in Crisis
What a mess. For 14 million current cancer survivors, and the 1.6 million diagnosed with new disease each year.
Doctors and hospitals "are doing a lot of things based on what we learned 20 or 30 years ago," says Patricia Ganz, MD, chair of the IOM's cancer report committee and an oncologist at UCLA School of Medicine & Public Health.