Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Top Stories

USC Study Examines Risk and Reward for Cancer Patients

USC study finds that most prefer to live longer, no matter what the treatment risks.

A new study published in a special edition of the journal Health Affairs found that for patients, the priority in cancer treatment tends to be living as long as possible.

Darius Lakdawalla, director of research at the Shaeffer Center at USC and associate professor at USC's Price School of Public Policy, headed the study.

Lakdawalla and his staff analyzed 150 patients currently going through treatment for cancer and discovered that 77 percent would prefer treatments that "offer a 50/50 chance of either adding three years or no additional survival" than those that would guarantee eighteen months of survival.

The study challenges conventional wisdom about what patients care about in terms of treatment.

Outside groups that play important roles in treatment, such as insurance companies, "have generally assumed that patients care about the average gain in survival...but patients facing a fatal disease with relatively short remaining life expectancy may have less to lose, and be more willing to swing for the fences," Lakdawalla said.

The special issue of Health Affairs contains several more studies that examine the relationship between spending and treatment.

One study even steps outside of the United States, comparing lifespans of American cancer patients with those of Europeans.

The studies could help open a new platform of discussion among patients, relatives, insurance companies, government agencies and others about what should be prioritized in the process of treatment.

RELATED:

USC Researchers Find New Cancer-Causing Virus

Study: Energy Demand to Increase

COMMENTS
Leave a comment
Name:
E-mail:*
URL:
Comments:*

USC Trojans Remember Louis Zamperini


By Alyssa Nakamoto
07/03/14 | 1:12 p.m. PDT

Louis Zamperini died on July 2nd at the age of 97. 

Former Trojan and World War II Hero Louis Zamperini Dies


By Alyssa Nakamoto
07/03/14 | 1:10 p.m. PDT

The former Trojan track champion, Olympian, and World War II hero was 97.

Pac-12 Media Day Sitdown with Head Coach Steve Sarkisian

Pac-12 Media Day Exclusive: Leonard Williams

Pac-12 Media Day Sitdown with Cody Kessler

Real Life Superhero Works to Keep Kids Safe

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.
MOST POPULAR

Pac-12 Media Day Exclusive: Leonard Williams


By Matthew Tufts and Alyssa Nakamoto
07/23/14 | 5:54 p.m. PDT

USC defensive end Leonard Williams talks to ATVN about recovering from his injury and the changes a new coaching staff...

Pac-12 Media Day Sitdown with Head Coach Steve Sarkisian


By Matthew Tufts and Alyssa Nakamoto
07/23/14 | 7:13 p.m. PDT

USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian talks about coming to USC, the training and development of his players, and the...