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Cancer doctors urged to consider value when treating patients

Published on May 31, 2014 1:45 PM

CHICAGO (REUTERS) - Cancer doctors should consider the financial as well as the medical impact of treatment for patients as healthcare costs continue to grow faster than the overall economy, according to experts in Chicago at the annual meeting of the world's largest organisation of oncologists.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is developing a system to rate drugs for advanced cancer based on a combination of benefit, side effects and price.

The cost of such drugs can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars a year, even though many have been shown to extend the lives of later-stage cancer patients by just a few months.

"The problem is that the current system is unsustainable because it threatens access to high-quality cancer care," said Dr Neal Meropol, chief of hematology and oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

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