Across the past year there's been more and more discussion about the cost of cancer care. ASCO has made it a top priority, even going so far as to provide guidance on how oncologists should discuss the cost of care with patients. New data released earlier this year in Health Affairs provide evidence that oncologists are increasingly accounting for the cost of cancer care, although they might not be proactively discussing costs with patients.
The survey is the largest to date to assess oncologists' attitudes about the cost of treatment and was conducted by researchers at both Tufts Medical Center and the University of Michigan. They found that 84% of oncologists consider patient's out-of-pocket costs when recommending cancer treatment, but less than half of surveyed physicians actually discuss costs with patients. Undoubtedly, as cost data becomes more readily available to physicians, this conversations will be easier to have. We actually looked extensively at how to help estimate costs up front to engage in these conversations - you can access that research here. Notably, the survey also asked about comparative effectiveness, and found that 79% of oncologists support more government research into comparative effectiveness.