According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 1.4 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2005. The victims are fairly evenly divided, with males having a slight lead at 51 percent. The causes are seemingly too complicated to unravel. The effects are unfortunately too obvious.
The rise in cancer patients, combined with new access to medical research and technology, enable cancer victims to take self-education to new heights. Through their efforts, patients are often confused by the nuances between protocols for scientific experiments and the medically accepted protocols for treatment. While the two sound the same, they serve different ends. Experimental protocols are simply mechanisms for following scientific research that can be replicated and compared against an already standardized treatment to prove validity. This process may require several experiments and studies before treatment is sanctioned as a proven method that can be used on patients. Typically, insurance payers will not begin to pay for treatment until protocols have reached the medically proven stage.
The four major types of cancer treatments available today include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and biologic therapies. New treatments, such as hormone therapies with Tamoxifen and transplant options involving bone marrow, are being added to these standard procedures on a regular basis.
This widespread availability of cancer experimentation and treatment options causes confusion not only among the lay community, but among physicians and payers as well. Every day, new options appear on the horizon that show promise, but only a few become treatment protocols. As the literature about cancer research and treatment burgeons, it's increasingly difficult for anyone but an Oncology specialist to stay current with which treatments are sanctioned and which are still considered experimental.
Having access to Board-Certified Oncologists and Hematologists as part of the independent review process can help payers ensure patients receive the best medical care possible as approved by their contracts. AllMed Healthcare Management's panel of Oncology and Hematology specialists know the latest cancer treatment options and can help you, the payer, stay abreast of these advancements—now and in the future.
About The Author
AllMed Healthcare Management Founded in 1995, AllMed (http://www.allmedmd.com, http://www.allmedmd.com/blog/index.htm) is a URAC-accredited Independent Review Organization (IRO) serving insurance payers, providers, TPAs and claims managers nationwide. Reviews are conducted by board-certified physicians in active practice. AllMed's growing customer base includes premier organizations, such as Educator's Mutual Life, IMS Managed Care, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, HealthGuard, several Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Allianz and many other leading healthcare payers.