The American Cancer Society is currently working to make the public aware of the increased use of chemo and radiation treatments in the United States, as a result of the ACA.
However, it seems that public health professionals may not be as aware as they could be.
“The American Cancer Association has stated publicly that the use of chemotherapy and radiation is a growing trend and we are actively working with physicians to educate patients about this,” said Dr. J. Stephen Goglia, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of the Director of Public Affairs.
But, as The Washington Post’s Michael Wolff points out, some doctors and cancer patients may not have the information to help them understand the risks of chemopreservation.
According to Goglie, the AMA’s statement “wasn’t an endorsement of the use, but rather a warning to doctors to think carefully about the risks associated with chemo- and radiation treatment, especially in the context of the Affordable Care Act.”
The American Medical Association also released a statement this week that also seemed to downplay the benefits of chemotherapy, noting that the treatment “may lead to a higher risk of cancer recurrence and death.”
“These are not encouraging statistics for physicians and patients,” said Barbara G. Johnson, MD and Dr. Steven J. Rovner, MD.
This is why it is important for the AMA to do more to inform the public.
Goglia and Johnson point to several studies that show chemo can cause tumors to shrink and even reverse certain forms of cancer.
And, as the Post points out in a recent story about the AMA statement, some studies show that chemo reduces the rate of cancer deaths in patients.
And, as you can see in the following infographic from the American Cancer Institute, these are just some of the ways chemo may be helping us fight cancer: