Patients value progression-free survival more than providers

An interesting paper from my colleagues at Precision in Medical Decision Making looks at how patients, physicians and nurses value different treatment attributes related to survival and treatment toxicity. The authors surveyed patients, oncologists, and oncology nurses using a combined conjoint analysis and discrete choice experiment survey approach. They found that: Virtually all patients preferred…

Learning-by-doing in cancer surgery

Physician quality is often regarded by researhers as an immutable trait. There are high-quality physicians and low-quality physicians. In most areas where technical skill is required, however, practice makes perfect. A key question is, does ‘practice-makes-perfect’ (aka learning-by-doing) occur for physicians as well? A key challenge when doing this research is knowing the direction of…

Progress in the war on cancer

Siegel et al. (2019) present a review of cancer incidence and mortality statistics in American over recent decades. Their key findings were: Over the past decade of data, the cancer incidence rate (2006‐2015) was stable in women and declined by approximately 2% per year in men, whereas the cancer death rate (2007‐2016) declined annually by…

End of life care in China

An interesting article from Longreads on dealing with a grandmother’s terminal illness in China. Guo Zhen didn’t know she had cancer, and my family had carefully devised a strategy to keep it that way. Doctors and nurses in the hospital had been instructed to never speak of her illness in her presence, and visitors to…

What is more for cancer patients: increased screening or treatment innovation?

Let’s get this out of the way: both are clearly important.  Within appropriate screening, patients don’t get the treatment they need.  Further, delayed screening can make treatments less effective if the cancer has progressed or metastasized.  On the other hand, without effective treatment, screening won’t have a major impact on patient outcomes. The question is,…