Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another looming shortage

My generation will be facing a shortage of oncologists by 2020, according to a report in Scientific American. From the article:

Many practicing oncologists are nearing retirement and only a few oncology fellowship training positions exist.

"We will graduate more oncologists," Dr. Michael Goldstein of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who heads ASCO work force efforts, told reporters. "But the increase is modest compared to the increase in demand."

Goldstein said unless medical leaders address this predicted shortage of cancer doctors, patients in the future may not get the high-quality care they expect and may not benefit from recent progress in cancer research and care.

"There's no way of rapidly opening the spigot and producing more medical oncologists because both the funding and the number of slots are limited," Goldstein added.

I heard this report referred to on Radio Free Ohio this morning and it added another layer of gloomy thoughts about the future to the ones already stirred up by watching An Inconvenient Truth one more time. The human brain works fast figuring out ways to make life easier but seems incapable of looking beyond the immediate to long-term consequences.

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