Frederick M. Schnell, MD
An increasing number of oncologists are choosing to specialize, affecting how patient care is delivered and the futures of small practices and large cancer clinics.
Many of these networks are based in or near major population areas, which could mean the very specialized immune and targeted thera- pies that now define modern oncology might not be available to rural populations. “The biggest risk is to patients in more remote areas, rural America,” Schnell said. “These consortiums don’t reach there.”
The specialization trend seems destined to continue and gain momentum. And although there may be drawbacks, many doctors believe it’s a good thing.
The explosion of knowledge about tumor types is a major driver of the specialization trend. With cancer care, “there’s an increasing degree of knowledge and sophistication and dramatically more therapeutic options and [ways] to use them,” said Martin J. Edelman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “With lung cancer, as recently as 2000, you had small cell and non–small cell, and all our studies were based on those. Now there are more and more subsets, and you need to know the options for each."
FIGURE. ONCOLOGIST SPECIALIZATION IN TUMOR TYPES10
Figures are based on survey of 200 oncologists for the 2018 Genentech Oncology Trend Report Survey.
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