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2020: How Science, Policy Debates and Huge Companies Could Shake Your Cancer World

2020: How Science, Policy Debates and Huge Companies Could Shake Your Cancer World
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Published on January 6, 2020

Hold onto your news hat this year, especially in healthcare.  There is sure to be endless debates about access and affordability for the healthcare and medicines we need and deserve. Who you vote for in the U.S. elections could personally affect you, your longevity, quality of life, you’re your hope for a cure.

The Science: Immunotherapy is the big deal in cancer research and there are sure to be refinements in existing and near-term experimental approaches. This will enable knowledgeable doctors to power our own immune systems to fight the cancers we have and will keep looking for and eradicating hidden cancer cells. Part of new science will be to determine—often by assessing the biology of your cancer cells—which approach is likely to work for you. So…this requires you in 2020 to be more of a savvy healthcare consumer than ever before. Ask questions about research and clinical trials and find experts in the cancer you have. New science means nothing if you or your local doctor are unaware of it.

Personally, I am switching to a new cancer inhibiting pill. It’s more powerful than the one I’ve been on for more than seven years and where its benefit has been trending off. The retail cost for the new medicine is over $25,000 a month! As a Medicare patient who works, the current law requires me to pay 5 percent. So, as the largest payor for drugs, shouldn’t Medicare be allowed to negotiate lower prices? This is where public policy comes in and my hope is that the political parties can come to agreement on logical changes that will benefit millions of patients.

And lastly there are big companies getting involved in healthcare and marshalling billions of dollars on things like artificial intelligence to refine the care we are offered, convenience, and cost. Just like we have flocked to smartphones, maybe some division of Amazon or Google will play an inviting role in our care. I wouldn’t be surprised as these companies may help improve the broken system we have now.

How all the science, public policy and larger companies rolls out this year is unclear. But one thing is certain: Healthcare will be a big topic of discussion and cancer will be front and center.

I welcome your comments to comments@patientpower.info and wish you and your family the best of health!

~Andrew Schorr

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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