When cervical cancer is performed brachytherapy, a form of radiation therapy. However, this treatment is used less frequently, and a new study of the school of medicine at the University of Virginia explains the reasons.
Scientists have determined that the procedure is spent a lot of money, which will lead to financial losses, especially for small hospitals.
"Research shows that brachytherapy - an important part of treatment for cervical cancer, - said Timothy Showalter, MD, an oncologist. - Reduction of the application of the procedure is directly related to higher mortality in disease. "
The problem associated with brachytherapy partially time-consuming: for control procedure requires 80% of the total number of staff time in comparison with external beam radiation. Both methods involve irradiation of the tumor, but higher doses are used in brachytherapy. Another difference that the researchers found, lies in the fact that the compensation of federal health care programs Medicare applies only to external radiation and brachytherapy does not cover. The researchers found that the procedure required twice as much.
"Brachytherapy requires a lot of effort and medical experience and is not compensated," - said Showalter. He noted that health care providers face difficulties in deciding whether to propose a procedure or other treatment.
The researchers concluded that the hospital, in which a large flow of patients, better equipped for brachytherapy and cover the expenses related to it. "My job is associated with radiotherapy, - said Showalter. - We are in a large hospital with the necessary equipment, and have established a process that improves the performance of doctors and reduces the time for the procedure that provides an effective treatment. At the University of Virginia, we are proud of brachytherapy program, and the provision of quality services is our top priority - he stressed. - We are fortunate that financial issues do not impact on our center, but this pressure can become a real barrier for small hospitals. "
He expressed grave concern over the decline in the use of brachytherapy. "This is a concern because we have a treatment option that is available for decades, but the rate of decline of its use, - said Showalter. - It's like as if you had an effective drug, but you have ceased to use it. "