Private Oncologists Being Forced Out, Leaving Patients to Face Higher Bills

When Dr. Jeffery Ward, a cancer specialist, and his partners sold their private practice to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, the hospital built them a new office suite 50 yards from the old place. The practice was bigger, but Dr. Ward saw the same patients and provided chemotherapy just like before. On the surface, nothing had changed but the setting. (more…)

Lawmakers Look for Ways to Provide Relief for Rising Cost of Generic Drugs

With the prices for some common generic medicines soaring over the past 18 months, state and federal lawmakers are trying to find relief for patients struggling to pay.

On Thursday, a Senate panel convened to investigate price increases for generic drugs. Separately, Senators Amy Klobuchar and John McCain will revive stalled legislation to allow some prescription imports from Canada. And Maine is testing out a hotly contested new law that allows its residents to buy drugs from overseas, flouting United States policy. (more…)

More Medicine Goes Off Limits in Drug-Price Showdown

Steve Miller is waging war on high-priced medicine, guiding decisions to ban drugs from the health plans of millions of Americans and sending companies reeling in a $270 billion market.

He and his colleagues at Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) say they are just getting started. (more…)

Some Experts Dispute Claims Of Looming Doctor Shortage

You hear it so often it’s almost a cliché: The nation is facing a serious shortage of doctors, particularly doctors who practice primary care, in the coming years.

But is that really the case?

Many medical groups, led by the Association of American Medical Colleges, say there’s little doubt. “We think the shortage is going to be close to 130,000 in the next 10 to 12 years,” says Atul Grover, the group’s chief public policy officer. (more…)

Feds to Employers: Hospital Coverage is no Longer Optional

Federal health officials are moving to stop some employers from cutting hospital coverage in the health insurance they provide under ObamaCare.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that firms with 50 or more employees must offer hospital benefits as part of their workers’ health plans in order to comply with the law. (more…)

FDA Warns Gynecologic Device Has Spread Cancer

The US Food and Drug Administration Monday warned against a gynecologic device that has spread cancer in women who thought they had harmless fibroids.

In the last year, two-dozen women have reported that their cancer was made worse by the device, called a power morcellator, which turned a treatable condition into a life-threatening disease. (more…)

Cost of Treating Skin Cancer is Skyrocketing

Government study sheds little light on reasons for dramatic increase

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and in the past few years has become a growing public health problem. Not only is the number of skin cancer cases growing, the cost of treating the disease is surging.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says skin cancer treatment costs increased 5 times faster than treatments for other cancers between 2002 and 2011. (more…)

Thyroid Cancer: Decisions About Tests and Treatment

To the Editor:

Re “An Epidemic of Thyroid Cancer?,” by H. Gilbert Welch (Op-Ed, Nov. 6), and “Study Points to Overdiagnosis of Thyroid Cancer” (news article, Nov. 6):

It was bittersweet to have these two articles appear the day before my thyroid surgery, and to be reading them the day after. They validate the months of confusion and exhausting deliberations since I received a diagnosis of a tiny papillary microcarcinoma, but they also make me question again if I did the right thing in taking it out. (more…)

In Their Own Words: Lung Cancer Is Not Only a Smoker’s Disease

Nine and a half years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer and I was told that I had 3 to 5 years to live. When I heard those words I was in total disbelief. I was a healthy, relatively young woman who never, ever smoked. I was active, teaching school, and busy being a mom. How could this be possible?

November is lung cancer awareness month and now, as a stage 4-lung cancer patient, I would like to get the word out concerning the facts that include this number one cancer killer accounts for about 28 precent of all cancer deaths and that anyone can get lung cancer. (more…)

The Cancer Breakthrough With Big Implications

Screening tumors could lead to smarter decisions about which cancer treatments will work best for individual patients

Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you’re sent for a dizzying array of tests — but most of them are focused on you, as the living host of the tumors, and not on the malignant growths themselves.

That may soon change, as researchers report in the journal Science. Some cancer centers already take biopsies of tumors and run them through genetic tests, to get a better sense of what’s driving the cancer. That information can be helpful in deciding which of the growing number of targeted anti-cancer drugs will work best to stop those growths. (more…)