Cancer Treatment Centers of America – marketing panacea or best in class cure?

English: designation mark

Image via Wikipedia

Before we begin today’s topic, I found an interesting blog post on Carrier IQ this week at Finding and cleaning out your smartphone’s Carrier IQ poison. It relates to an earlier post on smart phone spying.

If you live around the Chicago area, you will be inundated with commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

These commercials have recently gotten to my mom. She had non-malignant skin cancer a few years ago. It was treated by surgery and some radiation. Her neck bothers her but the specialist couldn’t do anything for the tightness. His advice was to turn the neck a bit.

Now she feels that the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America will solve all her problems.

A few years ago, I did call Cancer Treatment Centers of America to ask about a female friend’s cancer. I couldn’t get off the phone with the marketing person. They were asking all kinds of questions about the patient, condition, etc., when all I was trying to do was get general information. They even wanted a doctor to talk to the two of us. But this is just my first phone call.

U.S. News and World Report

Image by afagen via Flickr

The same thing happened when I was trying to find out about university tuition. If I contact a university like the University of Phoenix or Full Sail University, I’m put through my paces with the marketing staff. If I contact a private Illinois university like Benedictine University, Aurora University or Elmhurst College, it’s more laid back and relaxed.

Most of the commercials show someone who has been helped giving a testimonial. But if I look at the U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012 at U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012, I don’t see them listed. And how do they compare with the University of Chicago or other top Illinois hospitals? If I go to the University of Chicago’s hospital website at University of Chicago cancer hospital, it says “U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.” The website goes on to list other endorsements.

I looked at the U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois at U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois . I have found several hospitals listed – but not Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I have found an interesting story in the Cancer Survivors Network about them at Cancer Survivors Network user chats. Here is what one person had to say:

“…my husband did not want to travel and be away from home for 3 days — he’s on a feeding tube and just feels more comfortable at home…I called them and told them based on the itinerary they sent it was a waste of time for us and I would prefer if they can review the records we provided them with and then tell us if there is anything they can do for my husband and if there is then we would come down, but if there is nothing they can do for us then there is no reason for us to come down. They agreed to this. Well — now I find out that they actually BILLED our insurance company for $500 to read the medical records — they NEVER said they were going to bill us and we never agreed to this.”

Interesting story!

So next time you are dying of cancer and live in the Chicago are:

Would you like to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America based upon their excellent marketing commercials and commercialized testimonies?

Or would you prefer to visit the University of Chicago hospital, who give the following stats at University of Chicago hospital?:

  • U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.
  • We are designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute–one of only two in Illinois.
  • In addition, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded the Medical Center a three-year accreditation with commendation.
  • Our program earned the highest overall rating in seven areas, including prevention and early detection, outcomes analysis, and cancer-related quality improvements.

There are many other hospitals recognized in the US News and World Report recommendations. But they don’t run a TV commercial marketing blitz. The only other TV commercial for a cancer treatment program in Illinois is Advocate Health Care.  They are more low-key and claim to “help more  people become survivors than any other facility in Illinois.” I probably can find them in the US News and World Report recommendations.

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