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Study: Drug Shortages Impacting 83 Percent Of Oncologists, Patients

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File photo of a person reaching into a prescription medicine bottle. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a person reaching into a prescription medicine bottle. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, cancer affects a significant portion of the United States.

Researchers at the CDC have found that prostate cancer, female breast cancer and lung cancer in both genders are especially prominent, according to charts on the agency’s official website.

A new study could signify trouble for the significant population of the U.S. grappling with all types of cancer. A reported 83 percent of oncologists have faced drug shortages, which translated to a lack of available treatment options for patients.

According to a press release on the University of Pennsylvania website, researchers found that shortages are especially dire for those looking to treat pediatric, gastrointestinal and blood cancers.

“In the largest study of oncologists to quantify the toll of the cancer drug shortage to date, the research team surveyed a random sample of 500 board-certified U.S. oncologists in late 2012 and early 2013 to obtain information about the impact of drug shortages on their practice during the previous six months,” the release explained.

As a result of the shortages, many doctors have found themselves searching for new options. As many as 78 percent of oncologists told researchers that they are going with different drugs and drug regimens altogether for treating patients.

Another 77 percent have reportedly substituted drugs at one point during a treatment course, and 43 percent have had to delay treatment entirely due to shortages.

“Our results indicate that the vast majority of oncologists in the country are facing wrenching decisions about how to allocate lifesaving drugs when there aren’t enough to go around,” lead author and hematology-oncology professor Dr. Keerthi Gogineni was quoted as saying. “The potential impact of these drug shortages is vast – they’re putting patients at risk and driving up costs of cancer care.”

Experts from both the Perelman School of Medicine at the school and the Abramson Cancer Center took part in researching the issue, the release noted.

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