NCCN Evidence Blocks

NCCN recently released a new approach to measure the value of cancer medicines. The approach–known as Evidence Blocks–evaluates medications on 5 dimensions: Efficacy of regimens, Safety of regimens, Quality and quantity of evidence for regimens, Consistency of evidence for regimens, and Affordability of regimens. Each criteria is ranked on a 1 to 5 block scale.…

Cancer Care Myths

Below are excerpts from a recent Health Affairs paper by Goldman and Philipson (2014): Myth #1: The War on Cancer has been a failure.  Survival rates for all cancers increased by almost four years during the period 1988–2000. Myth 2: Detection, Not Treatment, Accounts For Most Of The Survival Gains.  During 1988–2000 almost 80 percent of…

Benefits of mammogram oversold?

That is what one new study finds. The Boston Globe reports that: Doctors may have oversold the benefits of mammography and underplayed its risks, which has left many women unable to make an informed decision about whether or not to have regular breast cancer screenings beginning at age 40. That troubling finding is based on…

Cancer Tidal Wave

People are living longer. That is good news. The bad news is that when you decrease the mortality rates for some diseases, you increase the likelihood that you die from other ones. For instance, if someone previously would have died of a heart attack at 50 year old in 1950, if that same person turned…