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Doctors Cut Cancer Costs for Patients

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:21 am | Updated: 10:34 am, Wed Feb 19, 2014.

A new study highlights end-of-life care, medical imaging, and drug prices as three areas where cancer doctors can cut costs for patients without risks.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins argue cost-cutting measures should be a priority for cancer doctors, as cancer costs for an aging population are expected to rise by 40 percent by 2020. They identified three key areas where doctors can cut costs for patients. First is end-of-life care, as a quarter of Medicare costs are spent in the last year of life. The second is unnecessary imaging tests, like PET scans, which can often be expensive and do not have a better cure rate than other techniques. The third is new drug prices which are generally not in proportion to their life-saving benefits.

"We need to find the best ways to manage costs effectively while maintaining the same, if not better, quality of life among our patients," co-author Thomas Smith, M.D., professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins, was quoted as saying. "We need to include patients, pharmaceutical companies and legislators in our efforts to contain cancer care costs, so that we can afford to provide innovative, quality care to future generations.”

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