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Many Doctors Silent on Cost of Cancer Care

Posted 4 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 21, 2017 – Cancer doctors are often mute when a patient asks about the cost of treatment, a new study shows. Yet, such questions are critically important. Cancer patients are three times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with other chronic ailments, and tight finances often lead patients to skip doses of medicine or drop out of treatment altogether, said lead researcher Dr. Rahma Warsame. Of more than 500 recorded conversations between oncologists and their patients, just 28 percent contained any talk of treatment cost or finances, said Warsame, an assistant professor with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In seven out of 10 cases, patients or caregivers raised the subject – but the doctors didn't necessarily respond. "Forty percent of the time there was silence," with the doctor not acknowledging patients' financial concerns, Warsame said. Doctors' ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer

Big Gap in Cancer Deaths Between Rich, Poor Countries

Posted 4 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 21, 2017 – Over the past few decades, death rates linked to cancer and heart disease have declined in most developed nations, thanks to more effective prevention strategies, early detection and greater access to quality health care. But the same isn't true for poorer counties where the number of people dying from cancer has either remained unchanged or continues to rise, researchers report. The international team of researchers assessed the impact that cancer has had on the life span of people between 40 and 84 years old from 1981 to 2010, and compared it to the effects that heart disease has had on life expectancy over the same time period. The scientists analyzed cancer death rates from national databases of 52 countries that belong to the World Health Organization. They considered deaths for all cancers combined, and also looked specifically at the deaths rates for ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Gastric Cancer

More Cancers Caught in Wealthy People

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 7, 2017 – Wealthy Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with some types of cancer than poor people, a new study finds. The reason: It's not because affluent people are more likely to get cancer, but rather because they undergo more medical tests, the researchers explained. The study authors analyzed data on four types of cancers (breast, prostate, melanoma and thyroid) in high-income counties (median annual income above $75,000) and low-income counties (median annual income less than $40,000). Rich counties had far higher diagnosis rates for the four cancers than poor counties, but the combined death rate was similar for both. That suggests rates of these cancers are actually similar in rich and poor counties, the researchers said. Several factors may explain higher diagnosis rates in rich counties, the researchers said. Affluent people may expect and demand more ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer

Publicly Funded Cancer Trials Gained Americans 3 Million More Years

Posted 19 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 6, 2017 – Public-funded trials have significantly extended the lives of people diagnosed with cancer, according to new research. SWOG, the clinical trials network funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), has involved more than 200,000 patient volunteers. These trials have led to approval of 14 new cancer drugs and more than 100 changes to cancer care standards. All told, the clinical trials studied extended life by 3.34 million years, the study found. SWOG estimates the dollar return on investment from federal funding at $125 for each year of life gained. "A lot of people with cancer have lived longer because of the therapies tested in our publicly funded trials," study leader Joseph Unger said in a SWOG news release. He is an assistant member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Cancer Prevention Program in Seattle. "At the same time, the cost of ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Depo-Provera, Provera, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Accutane, Prostate Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Fluorouracil, Tretinoin, Lupron Depot, Femara, Colorectal Cancer, Gleevec, Rituxan, Lung Cancer, Isotretinoin

4 in 10 Job-Based Health Plans in U.S. Are Now 'High-Deductible'

Posted 19 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 6, 2017 – High-deductible health plans are gaining ground among U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. But too often, enrollees say high out-of-pocket costs are causing them to skip or delay needed medical care, a new government report finds. Nearly 40 percent of adults with job-based coverage were enrolled in a high-deductible plan in 2016, the report said. That's up from just over 26 percent in 2011, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a unit of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increasingly, employers are adding high-deductible health plans to the menu of health plan choices they offer employees, or they're replacing traditional offerings with high-deductible plans, said Paul Fronstin, who was not involved in the report. He's director of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute's health research ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Cancer, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Ischemic Heart Disease

Can Drug Company Perks Sway Cancer Docs' Prescriptions?

Posted 19 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 6, 2017 – Cancer doctors who receive freebies from pharmaceutical companies are more likely to prescribe drugs produced by those companies, a new study reports. Free meals, paid travel expenses and fees for consulting or lecturing appeared to influence which drugs a doctor would choose when treating two different types of cancer, said study lead researcher Dr. Aaron Mitchell. Specifically, doctors were 78 percent more likely to prescribe a drug to treat kidney cancer that had spread if they'd received a gift or small payment from that drug's manufacturer, compared to physicians who didn't receive any payments, Mitchell said. The doctors also were 29 percent more likely to prescribe a drug for chronic myeloid leukemia if they'd received meals, travel or speaking fees from the drug's maker, Mitchell said. "This raises the possibility that drug companies are able to ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer

Reporting Symptoms Online to Docs Helps Cancer Patients Live Longer

Posted 4 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, June 4, 2017 – When people with advanced cancer report their symptoms to health care providers using an online program, they may live longer, a new study suggests. The benefit may come because the new online tool cuts any "lag time" between patients experiencing symptoms and their care team's response to those issues, the researchers said. "Patients receiving chemotherapy often have severe symptoms, but doctors and nurses are unaware of these symptoms up to half of the time," explained study author Dr. Ethan Basch, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Bruce Johnston, President-Elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), said the new technology addresses a common problem in cancer care. "A lot of patients are reluctant to contact docs between visits – they may think, 'I don't feel too good, but ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer

Experimental Gene-Targeted Drug Hits Cancer Where It Lives

Posted 4 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, June 3, 2017 – An experimental drug that targets a specific gene mutation can battle a range of advanced cancers in adults and children, researchers are reporting. The genetic abnormality is known as a TRK fusion, and it's found in only a small percentage of all cancers. So the drug, called larotrectinib, is no panacea. But researchers found that among 50 patients with TRK fusions, 76 percent saw their cancer regress after starting larotrectinib – regardless of their age or type of cancer. For most of those patients – 79 percent – the response has lasted at least one year, according to lead researcher Dr. David Hyman. "There are few therapies that have had that kind of success for patients like these," said Hyman, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. William Oh, an oncologist who was not involved in the study, agreed. "A 76 percent ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Keytruda, Head and Neck Cancer, Pembrolizumab, Salivary Gland Cancer

Scientists Report Progress on Genetic Test for Anal Cancer

Posted 26 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 26, 2017 – A new genetic test may detect anal cancer, a disease that's become more common in women, gay and bisexual men, and people with HIV. "If other studies confirm and build upon these findings, this promising research could be used to develop a less invasive method to help doctors identify people who are at a higher risk of anal cancer and avoid unnecessary procedures for those who are at a lower risk," said Dr. Rachel Orritt, Cancer Research U.K.'s health information officer. In most cases, anal cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, a virus that causes the majority of cervical cancers. "This study builds on what we already know about the link between changes to cell DNA and cervical cancer, and shows that similar changes to the DNA in anal cells could suggest anal cancer," she said. Diagnosing anal cancer is difficult and tough for patients, the researchers ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, HIV Infection, Colorectal Cancer, Anal Fissure and Fistula, Diagnosis and Investigation

Blood Test for Pancreatic Cancer Shows Early Promise

Posted 24 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 24, 2017 – Scientists say they've developed a new blood test for identifying pancreatic cancer – a step that might eventually allow earlier diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is a particularly deadly type of tumor because it's often detected too late for effective treatment. The still-experimental test detects a bundle of proteins churned out by pancreatic tumors. And it appears to be more accurate than a currently available test for a protein called CA19-9, according to the study findings. That CA 19-9 test is "very imperfect," said Dr. Cesar Castro, one of the researchers on the new study. For one, levels of CA 19-9 often rise only in the later stages of pancreatic cancer, according to Castro, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Plus, a spike in the protein is not specific to the cancer. It can go up when the pancreas is inflamed, for example, or when ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer

FDA OKs First Cancer Drug by Genetic Type, Not Organ of Origin

Posted 24 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 24, 2017 – Many new cancer drugs target genetic "biomarkers" that are specific to tumors – wherever in the body they may appear. So on Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that, for the first time, it had approved a cancer drug based on disease genetics rather than the body part where the cancer originated. The drug, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), is targeted to what are called "mismatch repair genes," and its approval means it can be used to fight tumors with these genes wherever they appear – in the colon, pancreas, stomach, ovaries or other body sites. "This is an important first for the cancer community," Dr. Richard Pazdur, acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. "Until now, the FDA has approved cancer treatments based on where in the body ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, Keytruda, Diagnosis and Investigation, Gastric Cancer

Blacks More Prone to Colon Cancers That Arise Between Colonoscopies: Study

Posted 23 May 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 22, 2017 – Colon cancer guidelines now recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50 for people at average risk for the disease. But a new study finds that older black Americans are far more likely than whites to develop a colon cancer in the decade-long gap between these screenings. Some of this may be due to where black patients receive their colonoscopy, the researchers said. "Blacks and other minorities more frequently received colonoscopies from physicians with lower [colon] polyp detection rates, suggesting there was lower quality of care," said study lead author Stacey Fedewa, a researcher with the American Cancer Society. Speaking in society news release, she said the findings "are consistent with previous reports that blacks were more likely to receive health care from physicians in lower resource settings." In the study, Fedewa's team tracked data ... Read more

Related support groups: Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Overweight Boys Face Higher Colon Cancer Risk as Adults

Posted 21 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 19, 2017 – Overweight boys may be more likely to develop colon cancer later in life, but losing weight might lower that risk, Danish researchers say. Although earlier studies have suggested that overweight children run a higher risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer as adults, it had been less clear what effect weight loss might have on this risk. "These results highlight the importance of weight management in childhood," Britt Wang Jensen, of Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, and colleagues reported. Excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and almost 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be detected in 2017, the cancer society added. In the new study, the researchers examined the health ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

HPV Vaccine May Also Prevent Cancers Affecting Men

Posted 18 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 18, 2017 – The same vaccine that cuts the risk of cervical cancer in women might also lower the chances of head and neck cancers in men, new research suggests. In addition to being linked to cervical cancer, the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancers in the back of the throat, in an area known as the oropharynx. HPV is linked with about 70 percent of these types of cancers in the United States, and the rates of these cancers are rising dramatically, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers in women, and anal cancers in men. However, the HPV vaccine hasn't been FDA-approved for prevention of head and neck cancers, because the vaccines have not been evaluated in clinical trials for that purpose. "We don't know if there's ... Read more

Related support groups: Colorectal Cancer, Gardasil, Cervical Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Cervarix, Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, Human Papillomavirus Prophylaxis, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, Gardasil 9

More Cancers Caught Early Since Obamacare

Posted 18 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 18, 2017 – More cancers have been spotted in their early stages since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land, new research finds. Finding breast, colon, cervical and lung cancers early greatly improves the odds of successful treatment, said study author Xuesong Han. She's the strategic director of health policy and health care delivery research at the American Cancer Society. "We wanted to see if the introduction of the ACA affected the diagnosis of these cancers," she said. Although the increase in early-stage cancer diagnosis was only 1 percent, it's a significant increase that includes thousands of patients whose cancer might not have been found until it was too late for effective treatment and potential cure, Han noted. The increases in diagnosis of lung and cervical cancer were mostly among people on Medicaid, she said. A large part of the ACA is ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Diagnosis and Investigation, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer

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