….I’ve updated this since last night with a link [here] to the interview that Evan Davis did with Karol Sikora and Peter Johnson (Cancer Research UK) on ‘The Today’ programme this morning about the Lancet Oncology Commission. It really is worth a listen. It is a long time since I heard 10 mins being given to an item aqnd for there to be such a considered discussion.
I somehow think that this will be a hot topic at the Cancer Care Congress which begins in London today – I am chairing a session about diagnosis at the conference on the Thursday.
Last night I wrote:
Yesterday I noticed that the eminent cancer scientist Karol Sikora was quoted in the Observer newspaper as saying that soon high quality cancer care would be the preserve of the rich.
It gave me much to think about over my Sunday lunch, not least that that which Sikora predicts, is already upon us. I distinctly recall two stories told to me by families who attended Tribute Wall events at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre last week, in which their loved-one’s fast access to care or treatment, had only been possible because they paid for it.
It makes you realise how a Government initiative such as the Cancer Drugs Fund might mean welcome, additional money, but that it is little more than elastoplast masking deeper issues. Moreover, that forthcoming NHS reforms are likely to amplify the postcode lottery access to drugs and all-round care for cancer patients.
Today there has been wall-wall coverage of the outcome of the Lancet Commission report on spiralling costs chaired by Prof Richard Sullivan and co-authored by 36 other leading international scientists including Sikora.
Reuters has the best coverage of the few pieces I have read.
I hope everyone will make time to read the whole report for it asks important questions we should all consider?
Aside from it’s prescription for the short-term such as changes to how care is commissioned, it more importantly asks some serious and deep-reaching questions about how to ensure fairness of access for all tin the future. It questions the evidence base for existing approaches to treatment and argues for greater debate around the quality versus cost equation.
In challenging established thinking and interests I suspect some may react defensively or not at all. However, I hope not. It should be used as a milestone moment to focus on the heart of the matter.