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Rad Oncology Homepage

Fivefold difference found in Medicaid reimbursements for radiotherapy May limit access to healthcare, especially in rural areas

Trends in radiation oncology workforce potentially threaten rural patients, says study More radiation oncologists leaving, fewer coming in to rural areas

Varian showcases first preclinical findings of Flash therapy trial Reductions in radiation lung fibrosis and dermatitis

Female oncologists submit fewer charges, paid less than male Study bases findings on Medicare records

Four considerations before embarking on a carbon therapy center The next frontier in improving cancer care

New approach identifies lung cancer patients most likely to respond to chemotherapy Combines radiomics and CT image assessment

Q&A with Scott Warwick, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy Find out what to expect at the year's biggest proton therapy industry event

Aussies and Americans develop 3D models for assessing impacts of radiotherapy Test different levels and types of radiation

Law in Ontario prevents cremation of brachytherapy patients Experts call for eliminating the law, as it deters patients from lifesaving treatment

IBA tech plays first-time role in flash therapy demonstration Supports eventual integration of flash as clinical treatment

Study: Imaging follow-up not indicated for common-type cancer

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
A just released study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute aims to shed light on a long-running debate concerning the diagnostic value of follow-up imaging versus cost, and radiation exposure, for certain patients in Lymphoma remission.

With hospitals and physicians increasingly required to control costs under the Affordable Care Act, the study compared imaging and non-imaging follow-up exam methods patient cohort groups over a two-year period. There was minimal survival rate benefit found in the imaging follow-up, with associated costs for PET/CT or CT studies averaging about $165,000.

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“I tend to agree with the results,” Dr. Peter Emanuel, Director of the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences told DOTmed News. Dr. Emanuel, who did not participate in the study, based his comments on the study results published on the Journal of Clinical Oncology website. “But I don’t know that it is going to change physician practices overnight.”

Dr. Emanuel explained that, as the study notes, patients experience anxiety while awaiting imaging results. However, he added there is also a segment of the patient populations who find imaging studies reassuring and expect such tests to be performed.

“This is the first study I have seen that really looks at the cost effectiveness of follow-up imaging studies for this type of cancer. It makes the point that those patients who are destined for relapse can also be identified through symptoms and other indicators observed in regular follow-up check ups,” said Dr. Emanuel.

According to Dr. Emanuel, the Large B-Cell Lymphoma in the study is a common form of Lymphoma, which has about 20 variations. It is a moderately fast growing tumor with about a 50 percent survival rate. Dr. Emanuel cautioned that while certainly cost effectiveness is a consideration in any treatment, cancer patients are especially sensitive to such issues.

“Individuals don’t want to be reminded about the costs when they are fighting for their lives,” he said.

Dr. Abel noted in his article about the study that a lower cost modality known as peripheral-blood assessment, which is used to make measurements in other areas of medicine, might offer promise for oncology patient surveillance.

Rad Oncology Homepage


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