We can all agree that communication skills are essential to quality cancer care. Oncologists are expected to explain complex situations clearly. Be on the lookout for doctors who say any of these—it could be a sign that they need an attitude adjustment.
Is there any truth in advertising? A recent study found that cancer center ads only emphasize positive outcomes, but other than direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals that list all possible side effects, are you aware of any ads that state less than optimal outcomes?
Throughout the geriatric sessions we were continually reminded of our aging population, the fact that cancer is a disease of the aging, and of the mismatch in this increasing number of patients and the number of geriatric providers entering the workforce. General oncologists will need to understand the nuances of caring for older patients with cancer.
The landscape of cancer therapy is shifting from traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy towards targeted therapy with agents like tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies. However, these newer agents remain costly, and traditional chemotherapy remains the backbone for treating most malignancies.
Several factors affect physicians’ choice of genomic tests, including availability, speed, and cost. Traditionally allelotyping have been used, since they are fast and sensitive, even though they are not comprehensive.
Words like value, quality, and even cost flowed freely at the ASCO Annual Meeting this year. Along with great excitement about the latest and greatest ways to understand tumor biology and treat cancer patients, there is an increasing recognition that we need to consider whether the things we do are worth it.