June 21, 2019 – Cancer Survivors
Anchor lead: Who will treat all the people who are surviving cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports
By 2030, there will be millions of people who’ve survived their cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society has just reported, and while that’s great news, it does leave the medical system in a bit of a bind. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.
Nelson: The current strategy of having them in sort of No Man’s Land between being returned to primary care and chronically coming back and visiting surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, who are treatment oriented specialists, may not be the right approach. There aren’t enough medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, to take care of the people who need the treatment. Having their time devoted to long term survivors doesn’t make much sense. Primary care as it exists now is unequipped to take care of the problems these people will present, so this is a health services challenge and I think that’s why they pointed it out. :33
Nelson says this may indicate a need for a cancer survivor specialty to be developed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.