Forty Years’ War – Cancer Center Ads Use Emotion More Than Fact : an article in the NYTimes.com
Cancer experts interviewed for this article say there are no comprehensive statistics showing that any one elite medical center has better overall cancer success rates than its competitors.
I just read in the NYT that we are marketed by hospitals. HOSPITALS NEED US. Wow! That is scary. Where I get treatment there are at least three major cancer centers on the same famous ‘Harley Street’ and a brand new teaching hospital UCH about 10 minutes walk away. London Clinic is building a enormous center with all the mod-cons, one can imagine. Harley Street Clinic that is modest by comparison has opted for a private wing at UCH as well as the center on Harley Street. I was also told about the London Oncology Center also on Harley Street.
From what I see, the patients around me in the day center come from all over the world. An Arab family has a lovely lunch spread out and they are sitting cross legged eating and looking very much at home. The woman across from me is speaking French on her mobile. On the other hand I just heard of a family raising 300,000 pounds so that their infant can have life saving cancer surgery in the USA. Were they all marketed? I hope not.
Let’s just say that someone, somewhere found a cancer vaccine or a way of manipulating genes so that the disease was no longer prevalent. I’m of an age where I remember polio and the boy next door who had to be in an iron lung.
Don’t hear too much about that anymore. Now what would happen if cancer stopped being a major disease? Would all these centers of “excellence” close down and all their marketing directors made redundant (given the sack in USA terms). I wouldn’t miss them. Would you?
And here is what the experts recommend (from an article by Natasha Singer in the New York Times, Dec. 19, 2009):
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth’s Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, recommended that patients ask their primary care physicians to find out whether a hospital or specialist they are considering has expertise and experience in treating their particular cancer.
CHECK CREDENTIALS You may also want to ask about a doctor’s credentials, like board certification in surgery, or whether a radiologist has a subspecialty in radiation oncology, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Patients may also ask whether the specialist has published scientific articles on their particular type of cancer, a sign that the physician is a leader in the field, said Dr. Thomas F. DeLaney, director of the Frances H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at Mass General.
AN UP-TO-DATE DOCTOR Dr. Chabner also recommended that a patient ask whether a doctor has a teaching appointment at a medical school and conducts research, indications that the physician is up on the latest developments in the field.
THE HUMAN TOUCH Patients, Dr. Chabner said, should choose a doctor who seems comfortable communicating with them, a particularly important skill when discussing cancer treatment options.
And once you’ve done all this, you can have your chemo., if you can still remember where you do have your treatment.