Precision medicine can help deliver high quality cancer care


Patient and Dr

US policy journal Health Affairs publishes research by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) on value in cancer care.

Using genomic and precision techniques can help deliver high-quality cancer care, according to a paper published today in the September issue of the US policy journal Health Affairs.

Authored by Ryan Callahan, Policy Fellow at Imperial's Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), and Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) and Director of IGHI, the paper addresses the value challenge of delivering high-quality cancer care and calls on policymakers to promote transparency and accountability to bring about value-based decision-making.

The burden of cancer on public finances is a serious concern for policymakers. More people are developing cancer, and as standards of care have risen, more are surviving, requiring longer-term care. In 2010, over 13 million people developed cancer and the worldwide costs of cancer care were conservatively estimated at $290 billion. By 2030, spending on cancer care is projected to reach $458 billion.

Cancer care costs also directly affect the patients themselves and can lead to personal bankruptcy. According to the article, cancer patients in the UK spend £570 on average per month on ancillary services and indirect costs of care. In the US, cancer patients have been shown to be over 2.5 times as likely to declare bankruptcy as other patients.

An international expert group convened by WISH, an initiative of Qatar Foundation, examined innovative ways of delivering affordable cancer care and presented its findings at the WISH Summit held earlier this year in Doha, Qatar.

Lord Darzi said: “The challenge of cancer is daunting and it will only intensify. As populations age, more people are developing cancer, they are surviving longer with it and treatment costs are soaring. The only way to help patients get the treatment they need is to ensure that money is spent effectively. Through our research into this vital issue, we hope to inspire policymakers to adopt our recommendations to meet the value challenge in cancer care and ultimately improve the lives of the populations they serve.”

Read the paper here.

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Jo Seed

Jo Seed
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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