Doctor, professor, and writer on health policy issues, Aaron Carroll recently examined the issues with how cancer research is evaluated in the US. Survival rates are used more often than mortality rates as measures of effectiveness, however, survival rates are often indicative of early diagnoses caused by more advanced scanning procedures and not by better treatments or real improvements.

Compared to other counties, the US spends more on each year of quality adjusted life (QALY). While improving QALY is clearly something we should strive for, the astronomical costs of healthcare in the US may force us to rethink how to diversify research spending. For starters, we should be using measurements that adequately evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. Another useful step would be for more people to create living wills to clarify their wishes in regards to end of life care. This may help decrease costs in one of the most expensive areas of medicine.