Shortage of cancer doctors looming - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Shortage of cancer doctors looming

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The threat is looming that there won't be enough oncologists to treat the rising number of cancer patients ten years from now. "We need to take actions now so the overall cancer care and coordinated team care improves," said Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, the director of the Cancer Institute at UMMC.

Dr. Vijayakumar says as cancer patients survive longer, the system will likely grow more complex. "They should have a good team of physicians that coordinate their care carefully. It's not just oncolcogists, but also geriatricians, primary physicians, social workers."

Oncologist Dr. Tate Thigpen agrees but notes oncology must remain priority. "The truth is that needs to stay in the hands of an oncologist, together with the associated team that works with the oncologist, because it's a highly specialized area and the disease process is very different," he said. 

Both Dr. Thigpen and Dr. Vijayakumar say without question, the standards of care will have to change in the coming decade. But they add, the patient should increasingly become the primary focus. "We shouldn't be afraid. But we shouldn't be afraid to make changes that will benefit our future patients," Dr. Vijayakumar said.

Link to American Society of Clinical Oncology Report

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