Health News Review
  • Sep 4 2014

    Family’s pursuit of proton beam therapy is focus of international controversy

    Proton beam therapy – which I’ve written about many times – is in the headlines for new reasons, including: a little boy with brain cancer charges of denial of treatment “an international manhunt” extradition hearing a statement by the British Prime Minister A Google search comes up with more than 2,000 returns on the story.  [...]

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  • Jun 12 2014

    Proton beam therapy – radiation oncology group weighs in on the evidence (and lack thereof)

    Usually when I make suggestions to journalists about things to cover, I urge them to report on questions of evidence for two of the fastest growing and most expensive medical technologies:  proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery. Recently, the American Society for Radiation Oncology issued a new model policy for proton beam therapy. In [...]

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  • Sep 6 2013

    Insurers doing what feds haven’t in refusing to pay for proton beam therapy

    The Los Angeles Times reports, “Blue Shield of California to curb coverage of pricey cancer therapy.” “As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on [...]

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  • Jun 1 2013

    “Here they go again” – 3 new proton beam facilities w/in 40 miles in DC-Baltimore

    “When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.”  That was the lead, as Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News reports that two Washington,DC hospitals – three miles apart – are building expensive proton beam radiation centers for [...]

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  • May 21 2013

    IMRT for prostate cancer: newer, costlier radiation no better than old

    HealthDay reports on a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine: “The costly form of radiation therapy that has become the norm for prostate cancer in the United States may be no better than the older, cheaper variety — at least for some men, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among more than 1,000 U.S. [...]

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  • Apr 9 2013

    Urology journal publishes papers with questions about robots and proton beam therapy

    Probably the two most frequent subjects on this blog regarding the proliferation of new medical technologies are proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery.  Since this blog focuses on media messages about health care interventions, we generally focus on the marketing claims made for these technologies. The latest edition of the journal Current Urology Reports [...]

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  • Jan 3 2013

    Cyberknife ads – one example of increasing excess of hospital marketing

    We’ve been following claims for Cyberknife “knife-less surgery” for a long time.  See search results from our blog. We’ve seen billboards promoting it in the metropolitan health care market we live in.   And big East Coast medical centers promoting it at subway stops. But only recently did we start noticing many TV commercials promoting [...]

    6 Comments
  • Dec 21 2012

    Texas-sized Battlefield Breakthrough hype by Dallas radio station – proton & robots

    New technologies such as proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery clearly offer some potential benefits to some patients (and to some health care providers who purchase these expensive technologies).  That is not in question.  What we write about on this site are the messages that the public may receive only about potential benefits of [...]

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  • Dec 20 2012

    Oregon: Just saying “No” to expensive proton beam therapy (for now, at least)

    The Oregonian reports something you don’t hear very often these days – a medical center saying “NO” – at least for now – to the medical arms race. And by dropping their plans to acquire a proton beam therapy facility, they said “NO” in a big way.   The Oregonian reports: In recent years, large medical [...]

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  • Nov 5 2012

    Proton Beam Therapy: evaluating claims in ASTRO papers of “excellent” quality of life data

    Last week, the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual conference was held in Boston, and several papers were presented on proton beam therapy, and several medical centers sent out news releases about their involvement in the work.  MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston  and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California were two that we [...]

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