by Cheryl Clark | November 10, 2016
It struck Dr. Barbara McAneny a decade ago that whenever chemotherapy complications sent cancer patients to the hospital they’d come out a little bit worse.
“Each time, it’s another step down,” the oncologist said. Their immune systems are vulnerable to infections from other patients, and when they go home, they’re “just a little bit weaker, a little more debilitated.”
There’s also a huge financial toll. Hospitalization can cost $30,000 or more, and patients are billed for co-payments and deductibles. Many patients who survive cancer lose their jobs or can no longer work. “People are just devastated by the diagnosis of cancer in more ways than you would think, beyond the medical and physical,” she said.
So McAneny set out to develop a better way for the 3,500 new patients she sees each year at her New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque and three satellites.