JAMA Oncology: Wrong on DTC

screenshot_537KEY TAKEAWAY: JAMA’s viewpoint on Oncology DTC fails to acknowledge the reality of the changing healthcare market and empowered patients.  Oncology DTC DOES fill a purpose.

According to JAMA Oncology “In the current communications era, cancer medications, cancer-related genetic testing, and even cancer centers are often marketed directly to the public. While there is little evidence so far that it generates inappropriate treatment recommendations in oncology, cancer-related, direct-to-consumer advertising (CR-DTCA) is prone to cause harm in many other ways. These include potentially fostering patient misinterpretations of expected efficacy and toxic effects of drugs with concomitant harm to the patient-physician therapeutic relationship; encouraging patient interest in new drugs when their toxic effects are not fully appreciated; and failing to present alternative treatment approaches that may be less toxic or costly”.

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In other words, patients don’t know what’s best and should leave treatment recommendations to their Oncologist.  That is a load of horse manure.

Over the last 6 months I have been doing a deep dive in Oncology research in preparation to launch an Oncology website and what I have learned is

1ne: Cancer patients, and caregivers, want a better understanding of treatment options including price and side effects

2wo: They are not having the conversations they want with their Oncologists.

3hree: They are going online to learn more about treatment options and want more of a say about possible treatments.

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In other words, they are becoming empowered patients and Oncologists see this as a threat.  Well, they had better get used to it because patients, even though they trust their doctors, want to become active members of their treatment plans.

Higher expectations?

Every patient, regardless, of therapy thinks they are going to be successful when they receive an Rx.  Even though some Oncology treatments may only work on 20% of people who have the disease, is it wrong for patients to hope and believe that they are in that 20%?

The truth is that it’s up to doctors to explain the risks of treatments, but too often they fail to have this conversation so patients are having it online .

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