The November 14, 2014 edition of the Consumer Reports® magazine has a very interesting article entitled “It’s Time to Get Mad About the Outrageous Cost of Health Care”. It is also available on line here.
We were particularly impressed with “Outrage No. 3 – Pushing the New and Flashy”, on page 43.
There are two points in this section that apply directly to the mission of our foundation.
First, this statement: “Medical science still has little idea which treatments work best for the disease…”. It was this problem, specifically, that motivated the formation of the Prostate Cancer Results Study Group and the process they use to compare treatment results. After reviewing over 28,000 published studies, and consolidating the results into an easy-to-use comparison tool, published on this website, we can confidently assert that we now have more information about which treatments work best than ever before, information critical to every man faced with making a treatment decision.
The second point that we found interesting is the example of the marketing value of an expensive machine that is perceived as providing superior results for prostate cancer treatment, without sufficient evidence of proof.
When centers invests millions of dollars to acquire a new technology such as the robotic surgery example mentioned in the article, or a proton particle accelerator, they are under intense economic pressure to pay for, and profit from, its use. The centers’ incentive is to encourage treatment recommendations that are in the centers’ interest, but not necessarily the patient’s.
Here at the Prostate Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, we work hard to bring unbiased and up-to-date information about prostate cancer treatment to patients. Much like Consumer Reports®, we seek out this information, make comparisons, and publish the results so that prostate cancer patients and their loved-ones, can make informed decisions.
Each patient is an individual, and each case is different. We are not in the business of offering medical advice; that is best left to you and your doctor. If you doctor is “selling” a particular treatment, that does not mean it is wrong for you, or that you should avoid it, but it is important to know that you have a choice.
We want every prostate cancer patient to have the basic information about how treatments compare so that he can answer his most important question: how well does each treatment do in preventing a recurrence of the cancer?
If you or someone you know has just been diagnosed, please see our For Patients page to get started.
If you agree with the Consumer Reports® article, and would like to help other men with prostate cancer, click here: I would like to help this important work.