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In Cancer Care, Who Defines Value?

Cancer kills nearly 1,600 Americans every day, translating to almost 25 percent of deaths in the United States and approximately $200 billion in health care costs annually. With numbers like these, it’s no question that cancer impacts everyone – from patients and their loved ones to pharmaceutical companies and the economy. However, with so many stakeholders to consider, how do we truly measure value in cancer care, and which definition should be at the forefront of the conversation? 

When it comes to assessing a new medicine, the value of innovation can include many factors, including clinical benefits, economic gains, and lifestyle improvements. While clinicians consider a medicine’s efficacy, toxicity, and cost, insurance companies may assess the value of a medicine based on patient outcomes, potential side effects, quality of life measures, and cost. The challenge for the advocacy community, however, is when payers define value as the standardization of care based on averages, which can result in treatment options being limited and not matched to the unique characteristics of each patient. 

In a new infographic, we identify six stakeholders in the cancer conversation, honing in on each unique perspective of value. Above all, however, we must keep the patient – for whom each treatment option and innovation has a profound implication on health and quality of life – at the center of the value conversation.  

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