Friday, February 14, 2014

French Cancer Treatment

I had a post a while back wondering how French cancer treatment would have compared with the treatment I received at Dana Farber in Boston. Here's an account that makes the French system sound awfully good, although I have to say that Sloan-Kettering, by this account, wasn't nearly as good as the Farber, where I rarely had to wait and radiation and chemo ran on a very tight schedule.


Anonymous said...

Very good. I'll build a blog post around this in the next week, as I'm dealing directly with the French health care system again (though fortunately not for cancer).

The one thing in the article that surprised me was that André Schiffren's daughter doesn't know French. One would think that he would have made sure she learned it school.


Victoria FERAUGE said...

Very good article. And, yes, it really does work that way. I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2012 and am being treated here in France. No frills - just outstanding care. And it is thanks to that system that I am still here as of 2014 and able to type these words.

Passerby said...

I spent nearly a decade in the medical industry. I still have much to learn, but a lesson that I learned is that there is no homogeneous system.

You can compare figures at country level and some systems will be more effective/efficient overall at treating a given condition.

If you suffer from this condition, being treated in the best system, gives you on average better chances to have the best possible outcome. But people often underestimate that there can be huge differences on how patients are treated within the same country. Even within the same hospital.

Provided that you are being treated in a developed country with advanced healthcare services, in my humble opinion what matters the most is not private/public, hospital size or its good reputation, it is the person treating you.

Not all doctors are equals. Some are more skilled, some more curious, some more compassionate. A state of the art therapy can be available and fully reimbursed, but whether you receive, or the level of invasiveness (e.g. full anesthesia vs. local anesthesia; open heart surgery vs. trans-catheter; spine fusion vs. artificial disc; normal delivery vs. cesarean section, surgery vs. drugs, etc.) will mostly depend on your doctor's personal preferences.

So if I may offer an advice, unless it's an ER case, do your homework and try to find out who are the best specialists in your area. If you have people in your network that work in the industry or are physicians: call them. That *really* matters.

My 2 cents.

Passerby said...


"whether you receive it or not, and the level of invasiveness that you will be exposed to"

Cincinna said...

Art, I am very pleased to learn you are doing so well after your illness. Your experience at Farber, and that of so many who have been treated at the world class cancer research and treatment hospitals in the US, is, from everyone I know, the rule, not the exception.
The most important thing is the approach taken at these hospitals, where people come for treatment from all over the world, France included. The very latest protocols, the team approach, with the patient and his family as part of the team, quick, accurate diagnosis, and the choice of options for treatment given to patients, means those treated there have much better outcomes than those treated elsewhere.
And for those who believe all the false information on the American medical system spewed by the media, here, and especially in France, this care, and these treatments are available to all. Even to those without insurance, who are as a serious illness prone demographic a very small percentage of the population.
I come from a family of four generations of doctors, including in my generation, top specialists in the fields of cardiology, opthomological diseases, and orthopedic surgery. None has ever turned away a patient for inability to pay, and all volunteer their services and teach other doctors their techniques all over the US and abroad.
Stay well, Art. I'll keep you in my prayers.