Cancer Care in the U.S.: Great Advances, Many Challenges

The battle against cancer in the United States has come a very long way in recent years with more people surviving the disease than ever before. Even so, the landscape for cancer care remains rocky with a number of obstacles healthcare providers, policymakers and patients must overcome.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the number of cancer survivors in the United States is anticipated to grow from 2014’s 14.5 million to 19 million by 2024. New therapies, a concerted focus on prevention and better testing and screening protocols are all helping push the numbers in a positive direction. At the same time, however, clinicians say there are many challenges that remain.

For more patients to enjoy a positive outcome, many healthcare professionals believe these issues related to cancer care must be addressed:

  • Complexity of care – This is a multifaceted issue with many concern points for clinicians. One of the biggest challenges lies in the delivery of care. Concerns related to cancer screening, implementing the correct treatments and the aging American population are all complicating matters.
  • Costs – The cost of care for many cancers is high and it keeps growing. This factor plays a direct role in patient outcomes as some studies show. It is estimated that between 10 to 20 percent of cancer patients may not undergo prescribed treatments due to the cost. That fact alone is a big one weighing down survival rates.
  • Accessibility – Making sure patients have access to lifesaving care remains a concern in many parts of the country. This concern goes beyond affordability to also include access to specialists. It is estimated that some 50 percent of oncologists within America are found within eight specific states, making access to care difficult in other parts of the country.

America’s fight against cancer has made tremendous strides, but more work remains to be done. Organizations, such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, are working hard to develop new strategies that may one day change the landscape.

 

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