How many proton beam therapy centers does Central Ohio need?

Despite the fact that proton beam therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer is expensive, and its efficacy questionable, that didn’t stop local journalists from writing a puff piece touting its impending arrival in central Ohio.

Journalism professor Gary Schwitzer, however, takes them to task. He questions an advertisement in a local newspaper, and wonders why cost isn’t mentioned, nor any discussion of the benefits versus risks.

Granted, it is unlikely that any ad would include such information. But the soft reporting covering the story only furthers the perception that the newest, and more expensive, medical technology equals better care.

“Journalists could start talking about ‘rational’ health policy decisions,” writes Mr. Schwitzer. “And it starts on the local level, questioning whether any one area needs two – or even one – proton beam facility.”

Indeed.

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