ACS deputy CMO addresses latest on cancer care on ‘Top Docs’ show 

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, M.D., the deputy chief medical officer in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer with the American Cancer Society (ACS), addresses developments in cancer care – including immunotherapy, CAR T-cell therapy, targeted therapies, and genomics – on the latest edition of the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) ‘Top Docs Radio’ show.

Dr. Lichtenfeld reports that, “Ten years ago, people were saying that ‘we’re not making any progress, we’re not doing anything, it’s not happening.’ But that’s when the immunotherapy drugs started to show up, and all of a sudden here we are…the progress we’re making is pretty remarkable.”

The long-time oncologist notes that, “I've been in meetings with experts in melanoma – some really intelligent people – who are now using the word cure…they are actually saying that about people who have advanced melanoma. We never dreamed that was possible.”

Going forward, Dr. Lichtenfeld would like to see a reduction in the administrative burdens that have been placed on physicians, including prior authorizations. He stresses that, “Patients aren’t pawns, they're people – and physicians need to be able to care for those people based on what they believe is best based on our training and education and experience.”

Dr. Lichtenfeld would like to see a better coordinated, less-fragmented health care system – versus the “one-doctor-here, one-doctor-there” approach that is so prevalent today – and he would like to see health information technology achieve its full potential.

When it comes to his fellow physicians, and especially ones who are younger, Dr. Lichtenfeld emphasizes that, “We need to be a part of the solution, and we need to be active and engaged. Of course, that includes organized medicine.”

Dr. Lichtenfeld also addresses the costs associated with the medicines that are used to treat patients who have cancer.

MAG sponsors two ‘Top Docs Radio’ episodes per month. Between downloads and live listeners, the program has reached more than 135,000 listeners – which includes people in all 50 states and 84 countries.

MAG’s ‘Top Docs Radio’ show is supported with a grant from Health Care Research, a subsidiary of Alliant Health Solutions. 

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