Cancer care? Give us outcomes data, not marketing and Marriotts

Our friends over at WBUR alert us to a story in the Worcester paper about the proliferation of cancer centers in the region. Four have opened in the past year. Are these repackaged services set up in new facilities that look like three-star hotels? Do you need a $25 million building to make cancer care comprehensive? Or is this just marketing?  Or all of the above?

Cancer care is now sold directly to patients. An ad in this weekend’s NYTimes magazine shows a rosy-cheeked model holding a sign that says “Hey Brain Tumor. We are so over, Colleen” As if only Sloan-Kettering could have saved her. Then there was the carefully worded MGH campaign selling the “promise” of drugs still in clinical trials.   

We say: Buyer beware of ads that claim your chances of survival are better atany one cancer center. Be an engaged patient and look for relevant data on outcomes.   

From the Telegram-Gazette

Critics argue that, in general, the state should offer more oversight as hospitals expand and offer new services to make sure that health care costs aren’t being driven up needlessly. But the hospitals where these centers are located say there’s no oversupply of cancer care, and, in fact, they expect to be struggling to handle a growing number of cancer patients in coming years.

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