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Government Report: 'U.S. Cancer Care Delivery System in Crisis'

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crisis in the U.S. Cancer Care Delivery System, government report said Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

If you were diagnosed with cancer today no doubt you want to believe you would get excellent care. Sadly, that may not be the case.

The United States cancer care delivery system is in crisis according to a new report by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Institutes of Health called “Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis”.

The report cited a growing demand for care, a shrinking oncology work force, rising costs of cancer care, and the complexity of the disease and its treatment, as factors that can prevent patients from getting the best possible care.

An already overstretched cancer care delivery system is facing increased demands as aging baby boomers reach age 65 and older — the segment of the population that accounts for the largest share of new cancer diagnoses.

The report was sponsored by 13 U.S. professional health and nonprofit organizations.

The rise of new cancer diagnoses is expected to rapidly increase from 1.6 million new cases already diagnosed each year to 2.3 million new diagnoses per year by 2030 — a 45 percent increase.

“The oncology work force may soon be too small to care for the rising number of people diagnosed with cancer, and training programs lack the ability to rapidly expand,” according to the report.

New personalized cancer treatments targeting specific abnormalities, including those often present only in subsets of patients, have proven to offer new hope to patients where there might have been none previously. However, incorporating those therapies into an overstressed clinical care system is proving to be challenging, the report said.

In a strained medical delivery system patients may be getting the wrong care, too little care, or too much care through unnecessary procedures.

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