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Study: Not Enough Cancer Doctors in Rural America

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File photo of a doctor's office. (credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

File photo of a doctor’s office. (credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Finding a way to get better cancer care to rural America is the goal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

A new study shows 1 out of 5 Americans live in rural America, but only one in 33 cancer doctors practice in those areas and 70 percent of counties in the US have no oncologist at all.

“We’ve got to make sure that every cancer patient in this country gets the same quality of care like if they showed up at Washington University or St. Louis,” says Dr. Blase Polite with the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

One way to do that, Polite says is through better use of telemedicine.

“If you can’t get docs to every single county, can we at least work with the doctors and nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants that are out in those counties and connect us with them,” says Polite.

Polite says there will be a deficit by 2020 of about 1,500 cancer doctors.

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