Dr. Michel Kuzur, for Nashville Health and Wellness Magazine
Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men between the age of 15 and 35. It is estimated that in year 2013, around 7,920 patients will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and 350 men will die from it. This disease has a 5 year survival of 95%.
Nashville Medical News
Nancy Peacock knew she wanted a profession reflective of her vocation. “As corny as it sounds, I wanted to go to work every day knowing I would be of help to someone,” she said. With her love of science, medicine was the natural fit.
from the Wall Street Journal's online NewsHUB Broadcast
Tennessee Oncology's own Dr. Charles Penley appears in the Wall Street Journal's news channel interview regarding a new initiative for accessing patient care data online.
Mark Mainwaring, MD, for Nashville Health and Wellness Magazine
What makes a person to want to be a cancer doctor? Aside from special motivation, dedication and lifetime commitment is the fact that some of the most exciting developments in the science of medicine are now changing the attitude, outcome and longevity of individuals with cancer.
“Congratulations to Dr. Jeff Patton, CEO of Tennessee Oncology, for being chosen Nashville Business Journal’s 2012 Most Admired CEO in a company with more than 500 employees.”
Jeffrey Patton, MD, as seen in the Tennessean
One little-known, but well-funded aspect of the Affordable Care Act created a program to determine what medicines, treatments and medical devices work best for patients, known as comparative effectiveness research (CER).
To do this, the health care law created an independent board known as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, to determine how $1.1 billion should be used to conduct this research and then communicate the results to physicians and patients. As outlined in the law, CER was intended to determine what works best in medicine, and such recommendations were not to be made on the basis of cost alone.
Comparative effectiveness research is nothing new, but many physicians are concerned with the way the government wants to use this research, and I am one.
Part of PCORI’s budget provides for a new $30 million program that puts government contractors between doctors and patients.
Known as “academic detailing,” it should probably be called “government detailing,” because it is government contractors visiting individual physician offices to share the results of comparative effectiveness research studies and encouraging physicians to change medicines they prescribe based on study results. The government will be making specific recommendations on how physicians can cut costs by using their government-funded research results.
In addition to providing comparative effectiveness results, under this new program government contractors will be working to persuade physicians to comply with recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Recent USPSTF recommendations for breast and prostate cancer angered certain elements of the patient community and also proved that experts can look at the same evidence and come to completely different conclusions.
For example, in 2009 the USPSTF released recommendations that mammography screening for average-risk women under 40 was unnecessary. In doing so, the task force concluded the benefits such as early detection and lives saved did not outweigh the downfalls of screening, which included false-positive results that can lead to further expensive testing.
These recommendations caused an uproar among patients, particularly breast cancer survivors who attribute routine mammogram screenings to saving their lives. In addition to patients, the American Cancer Society rejected the recommendations.
Having this type of one-size-fits-all approach could lead us toward a system like that of the United Kingdom, where CER results are used to impose centralized, national coverage restrictions.
In the U.K., the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses CER to ration care through coverage decisions, which has resulted in severe consequences for patients. Patients there have faced access barriers to treatments for breast and brain cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions under NICE’s blunt cost-effectiveness standards.
We do not need a NICE system. We need to let physicians make the decisions that are best for their individual patients, not make decisions that are best for government.
Comparative effectiveness research done right is a good thing for our country’s health care system. However, when the government begins telling physicians what medicines they should or should not prescribe, ultimately it’s the patient who suffers. A government-directed academic detailing program based on task force guidelines will ignore individual differences in patients and impose one-size-fits-all recommendations on physicians. There are no safeguards, standards or transparency requirements to protect patients in this program, and we do not want to slide down the slippery slope that puts our health care decisions in the government’s hands.
By Dr. James R. Gray for Nashville Health and Wellness Magazine
Most radiation treatments today are delivered by machines called linear accelerators. These machines generate the high-energy, deeply penetrating x-rays used to treat cancers. They are designed to guide and control these x-rays in order to direct the energy to the tumor and avoid incidental damage to healthy tissues nearby. This requires advanced engineering for precision, accuracy, reliability, and above all safety.
Dr. Amy Johnson, PHD, for Nashville Health and Wellness Magazine
When someone is diagnosed with cancer he or she immediately begins a life-changing experience. No one wants their life changed without their permission but cancer never asks, “May I…?” Coping with that is hard enough January through October, but somehow it seems even more difficult during the months we think of as the holiday season.
by Dr. Olaide Ajayi for Nashville Health and Wellness Magazine
In the last 30 years, more public awareness about the dangers of cigarette smoke has decreased the number of people that smoke but many continue to die of cancer because the chances of developing lung cancer remains high even after quitting.