News flash—the way most oncologists create income is by giving chemotherapy

News flash—the way most oncologists create income is by giving chemotherapy

This very US centric article by Rebecca Bechhold, MD on the Cancer Network (free membership) expands on recent topics in the news and here on a study that found that cancer centre advertising emphasises positive outcomes and says nothing about side effects or costs and direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals that require that low, fast-talking voice at the end to read all possible side effects.

Some quotes from the article:

'Like it or not, healthcare is a business. And the way it is currently arranged, oncologists are paid more when they give more chemotherapy.



One doctor I chatted with said that his practice had been purchased by a hospital system in his town, and he was crowing about how much they were paying him. His statement to me was, “Each oncologist they hire is worth $1 million in income a year from chemotherapy alone.” '

Something to think about - particularly if you have just been diagnosed with CLL/SLL by private oncologist/haematologist and treatment is immediately recommended. While I have no doubt that the vast majority of specialists provide ethical advice and endeavour to do the best for their patients, the current societal expectations that anyone diagnosed with cancer will promptly be given treatment, coupled with the fact that most patients with CLL/SLL will not need treatment soon after diagnosis, with many never requiring treatment, can be a dangerous combination of which we need to be aware. If you find yourself in this situation, seriously consider the value of getting a second, independent opinion from another centre.


Photo: You can get some marvellously large water droplets on leaves after a heavy fog, shown here on what I think is a Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas.

3 Replies

  • Chemotherapy and drugs are Ok if thy help the patient but the sad part is that there is no money in cure.

  • To repeat myself - thank goodness for the NHS!

  • My thoughts exactly Chris when I was writing this - or to put it in a more generic manner, thank goodness for Universal Health Care or Socialised Medicine as it is usually pejoratively termed in American political discourse:

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