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Can a Blood Test Detect a Range of Cancers Earlier?

Posted 1 day 12 hours ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16, 2017 – A new genetic blood test might pave the way for detecting early stage cancers that often prove fatal when caught too late, a new study suggests. The test scans blood for DNA fragments released by cancerous tumors, explained lead researcher Dr. Victor Velculescu. By reviewing these DNA fragments for mutations found in 58 "cancer-driver" genes, the blood test detects many early stage cancers without rendering false positives for healthy people, said Velculescu, co-director of cancer biology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, in Baltimore. The test detected stage 1 or 2 colon, breast, lung or ovarian cancers between 59 percent and 71 percent of the time when assessing 200 patients previously diagnosed with cancer, researchers found. "If we are able to detect cancer earlier, our chances of saving lives would be much higher," Velculescu said. "The survival ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation

Heart Risks May Rise After Cancer Diagnosis

Posted 2 days 11 hours ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 15, 2017 – As if people newly diagnosed with cancer don't have enough to worry about, a new study suggests the diagnosis may put their hearts at risk, too. The study found that newly diagnosed cancer patients are at increased risk for a condition called arterial thromboembolism, which occurs when blood flow is blocked by a clot that's traveled from another part of the body, such as the legs. The potential heart threat is higher "especially during the first six months after diagnosis," said a team led by Dr. Babak Navi, of Weill Cornell Medicine's department of neurology in New York City. Looking through a 2002-2011 database of about 140,000 cancer patients and an equal number of people without cancer, Navi's team found that cancer patients had twice the risk of an arterial thromboembolism in the six months after cancer diagnosis than patients without cancer. The study ... Read more

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Cancer Takes Financial Toll, Even With Insurance

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 10, 2017 – Many cancer patients in the United States are shocked by their out-of-pocket costs for care – with some spending one-third of their income on treatment, a new study finds. The study looked at the financial toll of cancer treatment on people who have health insurance. The vast majority in the study had private insurance or Medicare coverage; the rest were on Medicaid, the government insurance program for poor Americans. Despite that, the study found, patients typically spent nearly $600 a month on their treatment. Overall, 16 percent said they were facing "high or overwhelming financial distress." Those patients were spending nearly one-third of their monthly income on cancer care. Dr. Yousuf Zafar, the senior researcher on the study, used the term "financial toxicity." "Oncologists talk about the toxicities of cancer treatment. But there can also be a ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety and Stress, Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Skin Cancer, Small Cell Lung Cancer, Melanoma - Metastatic, Stomach Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Choriocarcinoma

Deaths From Colon Cancer Up Among Younger White Americans

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2017 – Colon cancer is claiming the lives of more younger, white Americans, a troubling new report shows. "It's quite perplexing. It's not understood why this is happening, and that makes it even more concerning," said lead author Rebecca Siegel, strategic director of surveillance information services for the American Cancer Society. Also alarming is that this hike in colon cancer incidence and deaths doesn't seem to be the result of more colon cancer screening. "It's probably a real increase among young people," Siegel noted. An examination of trends from 1970 through 2014 found the uptick most pronounced for aggressive cancer that spreads from the colon to other body organs. "What's disturbing is that colon cancer is detectable and curable when detected early," said Dr. Darrell Gray, of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Because colon cancer is ... Read more

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

Bristol-Myers Squibb Receives FDA Approval for Opdivo (nivolumab) in MSI-H or dMMR Metastatic Colorectal Cancer That Has Progressed Following Treatment

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE) August 1, 2017 – Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Opdivo (nivolumab) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of adult and pediatric (12 years and older) patients with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.2 Approval for this indication has been granted under accelerated approval based on overall response rate (ORR) and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. The recommended dose is 240 milligrams administered as an intravenous infusion over 60 minutes every two weeks until disease ... Read more

Related support groups: Colorectal Cancer, Opdivo, Nivolumab

Treatment Costs Can Be Another Blow to Cancer Patients

Posted 27 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 27, 2017 – The emotional and physical costs of cancer can be staggering. But the financial side of cancer is also a great burden, with many patients in the United States struggling to pay for treatment, new research reveals. "The current health law has greatly improved access to meaningful health coverage for cancer patients, survivors and all those with chronic diseases," Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a network news release. "Yet costs remain a challenge for those facing cancer. Our country and our lawmakers should come together to find bipartisan solutions that begin to address patient costs without sacrificing the quality of coverage," he urged. Researchers surveyed financial navigators at 11 hospitals in nine states. Financial navigators – typically trained social workers or nurses – help cancer patients ... Read more

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$100 Sweetens the Pot for a Colonoscopy

Posted 25 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 25, 2017 – It appears that $100 might go a long way toward convincing someone to get a colonoscopy. New research found that such a cash incentive doubled the chances that older adults were screened for colon cancer. "Colonoscopy is challenging for patients, requiring a day off from work, a bowel-cleansing preparation, and transportation, in addition to non-financial costs of anxiety and discomfort," said study author Dr. Shivan Mehta. He's an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "The improvement we saw in the rate of screening colonoscopies was statistically significant, and shows for the first time that a financial incentive can at least modestly boost that rate," Mehta added in a university news release. Colon cancer kills more than 50,000 people in the United States every year, second only to lung cancer. But most potential ... Read more

Related support groups: Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation, Body Imaging, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Obesity in Teen Years Tied to Colon Cancer Risk in Adulthood

Posted 24 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 24, 2017 – Obesity even in adolescence may raise the odds for colon cancer in adulthood, a large new study finds. Overweight and obese teens in Israel had about a 53 percent higher risk for colon cancer as adults, researchers found. And for rectal cancer, obesity – but not overweight --was tied to more than double the risk for girls, and 71 percent higher odds for boys, compared to normal-weight teens. "This study is additional evidence that risk factors for colon cancer operate through the life course," said Dr. Andrew Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The findings "highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight even in childhood," added Chan, who wasn't involved in the study. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis in U.S. men and women, excluding skin cancer. About ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Diabetes, Type 2, Osteoarthritis, Colorectal Cancer, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Insured, But Still Barred From Top-Tier Cancer Centers

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 20, 2017 – Choosing a cheaper health plan could cost you access to cream-of-the-crop cancer doctors and facilities, a new study reports. Less-expensive "narrow network" health plans are much less likely to cover treatment by doctors at centers affiliated with the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said study lead author Laura Yasaitis. "We found that the narrower networks were more likely to systematically exclude NCI-affiliated physicians," said Yasaitis, a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "The oncologists they included in their networks were about half as likely to be NCI-affiliated as those they excluded." NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are the nation's top-flight facilities for cancer care, and studies have shown that patients treated at these centers tend to have better outcomes, Yasaitis said. Access to these centers is ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Brain Tumor, Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Head and Neck Cancer, Gastric Cancer

More Patients OK'd for Cancer Trials Under Obamacare: Study

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 20, 2017 – The Affordable Care Act has enabled more privately insured patients to enroll in clinical trials for new cancer treatments, a new study contends. Speedy approvals are important for patients who want to participate in clinical trials, said study author Dr. David Hong. He's deputy chair of investigational cancer therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Since 2000, Medicare, the publicly funded insurance program for seniors, has covered routine costs of clinical trial participation. But coverage for patients with private insurance differed by insurer and state, the researchers noted. Under the ACA, or Obamacare, however, private insurers had to cover "standard of care" costs of clinical trial participation as of 2014. For this study, the researchers analyzed more than 2,400 patient referrals to the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy at ... Read more

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Many Terminal Cancer Patients Remain in Denial

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 19, 2017 – Nearly 10 percent of patients with terminal cancer don't want to know they're dying, which can make their final days more difficult, a new study finds. Unwillingness to face poor prospects can lead to unnecessary treatments and keep patients from making end-of-life plans, the researchers reported recently in The Oncologist. "Health care professionals should appropriately assess patients' readiness for prognostic information," said study leader Siew-Tzuh Tang, a professor at Chang Gung University School of Nursing in Taiwan. Doctors should respect patients' reluctance to confront their poor prognosis if they are not ready to know, "but sensitively coach them to cultivate their accurate prognostic awareness," Tang said in a journal news release. The study involved nearly 250 terminal cancer patients in Taiwan. They were questioned several times over their last ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety and Stress, Cancer, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Brain Tumor, Pancreatic Cancer, Skin Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention

Doctors' Group Offers Ideas for Easing Cancer Costs

Posted 19 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 19, 2017 – New cancer drugs routinely cost $100,000 a year or more, and older cancer drugs are rising in price, too. Now, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has some suggestions for easing patients' money woes. The proposals include allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, legalizing the importation of drugs, and adopting bundled, or group, payment programs. In the new policy statement, ASCO also says it supports creation of a panel of "stakeholders" in health care to determine the effectiveness of its proposals. Such a group might also outline a uniform approach for assessing the value of drugs. "In what, undoubtedly, is one of the most difficult times in their lives, individuals with cancer should be focused on getting the best care possible, not worrying about financial strain on their families," said Dr. Clifford Hudis. He's CEO of ASCO, a leading ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Depo-Provera, Provera, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Prostate Cancer, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Fluorouracil, Lupron Depot, Femara, Lung Cancer, Gleevec, Colorectal Cancer, Zoladex, Brain Tumor, Votrient, Anastrozole

Easier Colon Exam Boosts Screening, But Insurers May Not Pay

Posted 11 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 11, 2017 – People with insurance that covers virtual colonoscopy are nearly 50 percent more likely to get screened for colon cancer, a new study shows. Like traditional colonoscopy, the newer, virtual test can detect precancerous polyps and cancer, but it's less invasive. It uses CT technology to see inside the colon. The American Cancer Society recommends so-called CT colonography as one way to screen people for colon cancer starting at age 50, but not all insurance companies cover it. Only about two-thirds of people who should be screened for colon cancer actually get tested, said the study's lead author, Dr. Maureen Smith. She is a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. "CT colonography is a newer technology that can detect both pre-cancer and cancer, but because it's relatively new it isn't widely covered by insurance ... Read more

Related support groups: Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation, Body Imaging, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

For Holocaust Survivors, Raised Risk of Cancer

Posted 10 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 10, 2017 – Holocaust survivors face an increased risk for cancer, a new study finds. The study included more than 152,600 survivors of the World War II genocide who were followed for more than 45 years. The researchers compared whether these survivors received compensation for their suffering and whether they were born in Nazi-occupied countries. Cancer was diagnosed in 22 percent of compensated survivors and 16 percent of the others, the findings showed. Compensated survivors were 6 percent more likely to develop any type of cancer; 12 percent more likely to have colorectal cancer; and 37 percent more likely to have lung cancer. In addition, the investigators found that people born in occupied countries had an 8 percent higher cancer risk. Their risk of colorectal cancer was also 8 percent higher, and their risk of lung cancer was 12 percent higher. Female holocaust ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Small Cell Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Diagnosis and Investigation, Breast Cancer - Palliative

2 of 3 Americans Don't Have 'Advance Directive' for End of Life

Posted 7 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 7, 2017 – Most people don't like talking about dying, especially their own death. But it's important to let your loved ones know how you'd like your medical care handled when your "time" comes. Yet, new research found that two-thirds of American adults haven't completed an advance directive. That's a legal document that outlines a person's wishes if they become incapacitated and can't make their own health care decisions, particularly near the end of life. "Most experts agree that some form of written directives are a key component of advance care planning, and yet rates of completion are low and do not appear to be increasing," said study leader Dr. Katherine Courtright. She is an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania's Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center. "We need to address common barriers to completing these important documents on a national level, ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Gastric Cancer

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