Cancer Treatment 1975-85:

The Use of Breakthrough Treatments for Seven Types of Cancer

PEMD-88-12BR: Published: Jan 25, 1988. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO studied seven types of cancer to determine the percentage of patients who were clinically eligible to receive state-of-the-art or breakthrough treatments but did not.

GAO found that: (1) the data that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) collected was limited, since it covered only treatments given in hospitals; (2) it could not not determine why the use of some treatments was rising while the use of others was falling; and (3) although the use of chemotherapy as a standard treatment for small-cell lung cancer increased, 20 percent of the patients with Hodgkin's disease, 25 percent of those with one type of lung cancer, 60 percent of those with rectal cancer, and 94 percent of those with colon cancer did not receive what NCI considered to be proven state-of-the-art treatment.

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