June 30th, 2011

sick kid

Poor A. She is running a fever (a little over a hundred, but nothing really scary). It's bad
enough having snot flow out of your nose. It's worse when your temperature is uncomfortable.

Fortunately, she's able to sleep, and is napping.

Choice in Healthcare

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/BreastCancerCenter/medicare-cover-avastin-fda-decision/story?id=13970046

This is interesting coverage. I'm not saying it's good, altho I'm not prepared to say it's bad, either.

The lead is written well:

"Medicare will continue to cover Avastin for breast cancer treatment even if U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Peggy Hamburg decides to withdraw Avastin for such use, according to Don McLeod, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid."

The balance of the article is quotes from various interested parties, some observations about the drug and trials of it and so forth. An advisory panel concluded unanimously that Avastin is _not_ safe and effective for treating breast cancer (doesn't help, does have bad side effects). As one would expect, people who treat cancer are saying, "Oh, gee, now what are we going to tell our patients. They'll be so upset." The patients are saying, "Don't Take Away Our Last Hope". There's a certain amount of, well it _might_ help someone, particularly in combination with something else.

The article beautifully covers a regular refrain in cancer treatment: we finally decide that, yeah, actually, that didn't work and it was really damaging and it's a stupid waste of money so we're really going to stop. Soon. But because of the rest of the dynamic, we'll keep paying for it if you insist on receiving damaging care.

On balance, this really is progress, even tho it rarely feels like it at the time.