CommunityCommunity Highlights

Effective Ovarian Cancer Treatment Underused Because It’s Unprofitable

From “Effective Ovarian Cancer Treatment Is Underused, Study Finds” on The New York Times:

In 2006, the National Cancer Institute took the rare step of issuing a “clinical announcement,” a special alert it holds in reserve for advances so important that they should change medical practice.

In this case, the subject was ovarian cancer. A major study had just proved that pumping chemotherapy directly into the abdomen, along with the usual intravenous method, could add 16 months or more to women’s lives. Cancer experts agreed that medical practice should change — immediately.

Nearly a decade later, doctors report that fewer than half of ovarian cancer patients at American hospitals are receiving the abdominal treatment.

“It’s very unfortunate, but it’s the real world,” said Dr. Maurie Markman, the president of medicine and science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. He added, “The word ‘tragic’ would be fair.”

Experts suggest a variety of reasons that the treatment is so underused: It is harder to administer than intravenous therapy, and some doctors may still doubt its benefits or think it is too toxic. Some may also see it as a drain on their income, because it is time-consuming and uses generic drugs on which oncologists make little money.

Dr. Markman said that when a treatment involves a new drug or a new device, manufacturers eagerly offer doctors advice and instructions on its use. But this treatment involves no new drugs or devices, so no one is clamoring to educate doctors about it. They are on their own to learn, and to train their nurses, a commitment that will take time and money.

An anonymous member of the Shadowproof community suggested this link, and commented:

In it is this statement: “Some (physicians) may also see it as a drain on their income, because it is time-consuming and uses generic drugs on which oncologists make little money.

Criminal, absolutely criminal! Doctors make money on the drugs they use?

This needs attention on these pages.

They later added their own bad experience with healthcare:

It’s a good subject for someone to follow up. Without all the weasel words. The NYT was surprisingly sharp … the note about doctors dragging their feet because it only uses generics and they can’t make money. I never suspected such existed. (Really! Doctors making money betting on patented drugs? On the side? Believing they are losing money on generics so patients don’t know or find out what is really out there? )

I’m doing a little known therapy for angina, non-invasive, well under $10,000, similar effectiveness to bypass and better than stents. It’s called EECP … Extended External Counter Pulsation. My cardiologist would not authorize it because it works but “they” don’t know why. BS! They do know.

But even if so, is that a reason to deny it?

It took almost a year to find one who is sympathetic and that was only because of a nurse who went to bat for me. The new cardio is a woman, long red hair and very hip! (Ancient word, I know)

Western medicine, particularly allopaths, have remarkable success in some aspects and depressing failures in others, yet they think they are next to god (used to think they were gods!). …

And to add insult to injury, I just found out that I am being billed over $1100 for the EECP routine, calling it Co-Pay, of which I inquired more than once, the latest was during the intake consultation, for which I fully expected to pay but was waved away. Now it’s 35 x 31 + extras, over $1100 instead of a $40 consultation co-pay.

I suffer from a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia, and while western medicine has been a great benefit to me at times, it’s also been a source of frustration. Despite decades of evidence and support by the pharmaceutical industry and government, it can be hard to make doctors take my condition seriously.

What are some of your experiences (good and bad) with the ways of American medicine?


Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and