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U.S. Could See Shortage of Cancer Doctors

U.S. Could See Shortage of Cancer Doctors

A new report suggests people fighting cancer might have to wait longer to see a cancer specialist in the coming decades, as demand for treatment outpaces the number of oncologists entering the workforce.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, demand for cancer treatments is expected to grow by 42 percent or more by 2025 due in large part to the influx of people signing up for Obamacare coupled with aging Baby Boomers and doctor retirements.

"Unfortunately the number of new doctors that we're training who specialize in cancer care really isn't increasing at the same level," says Dr. Benjamin Smith at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"People are living longer and the longer you live the higher your lifetime chance of getting cancer," Smith tells KTRH News.  "We also are more and more successful at treating cancer, so the needs of cancer survivors also are something that needs to be considered."

Part of the solution could be having primary physicians take some of the workload of cancer survivors.

"I think the challenge though is that there is indeed a shortage of primary physicians as well, so that's another problem that needs to be addressed," says Smith.

Smith believes the government should invest more in oncology training and trying to attract young doctors into the field.

 

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