Skin Cancers Rise, Along With Questionable Treatments - The New York Times
The once sleepy field of dermatology is bustling these days, as baby boomers, who spent their youth largely unaware of the sun’s risk, hit old age. The number of skin cancer diagnoses in people over 65, along with corresponding biopsies and treatment, is soaring. But some in the specialty, as well as other medical experts, are beginning to question the necessity of aggressive screening and treatment, especially in frail, elderly patients, given that the majority of skin cancers are unlikely to be fatal.
“You can always do things,” said Dr. Charles A. Crecelius, a St. Louis geriatrician who has studied care of medically complex seniors. “But just because you can do it, does that mean you should do it?”
Ets-ce que médecine et care peuvent dépendre d’entreprises qui sont là pour faire de l’argent, souvent en plus en culpabilisant les patients.La dérive du Capital vers une forme d’anthropo-destruction au nom de l’argent a besoin d’une régulation forte. Très forte.
Dermatology — a specialty built not on flashy, leading edge medicine but on thousands of small, often banal procedures — has become increasingly lucrative in recent years. The annual dermatology services market in the United States, excluding cosmetic procedures, is nearly $11 billion and growing, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. The business potential has attracted private equity firms, which are buying up dermatology practices around the country, and installing crews of lesser-trained practitioners — like the physician assistants who saw Mr. Dalman — to perform exams and procedures in even greater volume.
The vast majority of dermatologists care for patients with integrity and professionalism, and their work has played an essential role in the diagnosis of complex skin-related diseases, including melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, which is increasingly caught early.
But while melanoma is on the rise, it remains relatively uncommon. The incidence of basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin, which are rarely life-threatening, is 18 to 20 times higher than that of melanoma. Each year in the United States more than 5.4 million such cases are treated in more than 3.3 million people, a 250 percent rise since 1994.
The New York Times analyzed Medicare billing data for dermatology from 2012 through 2015, as well as a national database of medical services maintained by the American Medical Association that goes back more than a decade. Nearly all dermatologic procedures are performed on an outpatient, fee-for-service basis.
The Times analysis found a marked increase in the number of skin biopsies per Medicare beneficiary in the past decade; a sharp rise in the number of physician assistants, mostly unsupervised, performing dermatologic procedures; and large numbers of invasive dermatologic procedures performed on elderly patients near the end of life.
Ce long article d’écrit ensuite méthode et objectif des entreprises de “médecine dermatlogique”, en général au détriment du bien-être des patients. Avec cette remarque terrible :
Examining the 2015 Medicare billing codes of three physician assistants and one nurse practitioner employed by Bedside Dermatology, The Times found that 75 percent of the patients they treated for various skin problems had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the lesions on these patients were very unlikely to be dangerous, experts said, and the patients might not even have been aware of them.
“Patients with a high level of disease burden still deserve and require treatment,” Dr. Grekin said. “If they are in pain, it should be treated. If they itch, they deserve relief.”
Dr. Eleni Linos, a dermatologist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has argued against aggressive treatment of skin cancers other than melanomas in the frail elderly, said that if a lesion was bothering a patient, “of course we would recommend treatment.” However, she added, many such lesions are asymptomatic.
Dr. Linos added that physicians underestimate the side effects of skin cancer procedures. Complications such as poor wound healing, bleeding and infection are common in the months following treatment, especially among older patients with multiple other problems. About 27 percent report problems, her research has found.
“A procedure that is simple for a young healthy person may be a lot harder for someone who is very frail,” she said.
#Médecine #Dermatologie #Capitalisme_sauvage #Voyoucratie