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Treatment Costs Can Be Another Blow to Cancer Patients

Posted 22 hours ago 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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Doctors' Group Offers Ideas for Easing Cancer Costs

Posted 9 days ago 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

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Most Breast Cancer Patients Have Help Choosing Treatments

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 10, 2017 – Most women who've been diagnosed with breast cancer don't go it alone. Many breast cancer patients depend on family and friends to help them make treatment decisions, get to doctor appointments and seek out other resources. A new study finds half of women rely on three or more people to help them through it. "People just diagnosed with cancer are often scared and overwhelmed. Having another person to help them process information is important," said study lead author Lauren Wallner, an assistant professor of general medicine and epidemiology at the University of Michigan. "Physicians need to recognize that women involve other people in their treatment decisions," she added in a university news release. "These people represent an important group to provide information about treatment options." For the study, the researchers surveyed about 2,500 women who had ... Read more

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FDA Widens Access to 'Cooling Cap' to Stop Hair Loss in Cancer Patients

Posted 5 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 5, 2017 – More cancer patients may be able to ward off hair loss during chemotherapy treatment. A cooling cap approved in 2015 for use in breast cancer patients has won expanded approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The DigniCap Cooling System can now be used for patients with solid tumors, the FDA announced. The computer-controlled cap contains liquid that circulates and cools the scalp, narrowing blood vessels. This reduces how much of the chemotherapy drugs reach hair follicle cells, the FDA said. Cooling also decreases activity of hair follicles and slows cell division. The result: Chemo drugs don't affect them as much, according to the FDA. Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, especially during treatment of most solid tumor cancers. Hair may fall out all at once, little by little or become thin. It's usually temporary – and upsetting. ... Read more

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Teen Birth Rate Drops Again to All-Time Low: CDC

Posted 30 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017 – Teen births in the United States dropped to a record low last year, falling 9 percent from 2015, U.S. health officials reported Friday. The overall birth rate declined, too, dropping 1 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of births in 2016 was 3,941,109. Moreover, the fertility rate declined to 62 births per 1,000 among women of childbearing age – a record low for the nation, researchers found. Births among 15-to 19-year-olds have declined dramatically since 2007 – more than 50 percent, said lead researcher Brady Hamilton, a statistician at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "It's really quite astounding for a demographic rate in an age group to decline that much," he added. The teen birth rate was 20.3 births per 1,000 female teens in 2016, compared to ... Read more

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Most U.S. Teens Aren't 'Doing It'

Posted 22 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 – Sex is everywhere in the media, and so you may be convinced that today's teens are always looking to "hook-up." But new federal research says it's just not so. Instead, the study found that most teenagers in high school aren't sexually active. "The myth is that every kid in high school is having sex, and it's not true," noted Dr. Cora Breuner, a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children's Hospital, who reviewed the findings. "It's less than half, and it's been less than half for more than 10 years," she said. The study found that only 42 percent of girls and 44 percent of boys aged 15 to 19 reported having sex at least once. And Breuner said that finding is nothing new. Going back to 2002, fewer than half of older teens told researchers that they are sexually active, federal data show. Further, most teens who choose to go all the way wind up losing their ... Read more

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Publicly Funded Cancer Trials Gained Americans 3 Million More Years

Posted 6 Jun 2017 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

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U.S. Teen Births Hit Historic Low in 2014: CDC

Posted 30 May 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 30, 2017 – Teen births continue to decline in the United States, with health officials reporting a 9 percent drop from 2013 to 2014. Births to 15- to 19-year-olds fell to a historic low of 24 births per 1,000 women in 2014, said Sherry Murphy, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. At the same time, the proportion of births to women 30 and older increased, said Murphy, lead author of the report. Mothers 30 and older accounted for 30 percent of births in 2014 – up from 24 percent in 2000, the researchers found. There were other changes in U.S. birth patterns as well. "The number of overall births increased 1 percent in 2014 to about 4 million, compared with 2013," Murphy said. The infant mortality rate decreased slightly in 2014 to a historic low – about six infant deaths per 1,000 births, the ... Read more

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Hormone Replacement Therapy Tied to Hearing Loss

Posted 12 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 – Hearing loss has been linked to several factors associated with menopause, a new study says. One factor is your age at menopause. An older age is tied to a higher risk of hearing troubles. And, a second factor is the use of oral hormone therapy to ease some of the symptoms of menopause. The researchers also found that the longer a woman used hormone therapy, the greater the odds of hearing issues. Hearing loss was already known to be more common in women after menopause, a time when natural hormone levels drop. Because of this, doctors had suspected that the use of oral hormone therapy might offer some protection against menopause-linked hearing loss, the researchers said. "The finding from this observational study that women who underwent menopause at a later age and used oral hormone therapy had greater hearing loss was unexpected but should lead to more ... Read more

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Government Funding Could Save Canadians $4 Billion on Medicines

Posted 27 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 27, 2017 – A new report suggests that Canada would reap savings of more than $4 billion a year if the government funded nearly 120 types of "essential" medications. "Adding an essential medicines list is a pragmatic step toward universal pharmacare," said Steven Morgan, in a news release from the Canadian Medical Association. "It would ensure all Canadians have access to the most commonly required medicines while saving patients and private drug plan sponsors over $4 billion per year," Morgan said. He's a professor at the University of British Columbia. The report authors listed 117 drugs as essential medications. This list included antibiotics, insulin, birth control and antidepressants. These drugs made up 44 percent of all prescriptions filled at Canadian retail pharmacies in 2015. When "therapeutically similar" drugs were included in the list, that figure was as high ... Read more

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Pediatricians Revise Guidelines for Teen Victims of Sexual Assault

Posted 27 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 27, 2017 – Pediatricians should be comfortable with treating and screening for sexual assault – and they should know where to send their teenage patients for any additional help they might need. Those are some of the major points in updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on helping teens who've been sexually victimized. The last time the group published guidelines on the issue was 2008. Since then, the problem of sexual assault – particularly on college campuses – has gained more public attention, explained Dr. Elizabeth Alderman, lead author of the new recommendations. In 2014, she noted, a White House task force issued a report calling on colleges to ramp up efforts to combat sexual assaults. Of course, sexual assault is not limited to college campuses, said Alderman, who is an adolescent medicine specialist at Children's Hospital at ... Read more

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For a Fun and Safe Tropical Getaway, Plan Ahead

Posted 17 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 17, 2017 – If you're planning a tropical getaway, be sure to pack old standbys like bug spray and sunscreen – and maybe a lot more, a doctor advises. "In places like the Caribbean and South and Central America, where it is already summertime, people can potentially be exposed to health risks that they may not have at home," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Christopher Ohl. He is head of the International Travel Clinic at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. In the Caribbean and Central America, you can get sunburned in as little as 10 minutes. Wear sunscreen and a T-shirt or cover-up during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest, Ohl advised in a center news release. Be especially careful on the beach or at poolside where the water reflects sunlight. Also, be careful about what you eat and drink to reduce the risk of diarrhea. Safest ... Read more

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HRT Won't Lower Women's Alzheimer's Risk, Study Finds

Posted 16 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – Women who use hormone therapy after menopause may not have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, a new study suggests. However, there was some evidence that long-term use – over a decade – might be tied to a lower risk of the memory-robbing brain disease. But the results were far from definitive, the researchers added. The study is the latest to delve into the question of whether menopausal hormone therapy can benefit women's brains. Research so far has yielded conflicting findings. On one hand, a number of trials have found no brain benefits for women using hormone therapy, said Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. On the other hand, small trials have found that when hormone therapy is given after surgical menopause, women can see "cognitive benefits," said Pinkerton, who was not involved in the new study. On ... Read more

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When Cocaine's in the Mix, Safe Sex May Not Be

Posted 16 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – The long list of health woes linked to cocaine abuse includes risky sexual behavior, a small, new study suggests. The drug not only increases sexual arousal but also makes people impatient and more likely to have sex without a condom. This could increase their risk for sexually transmitted infections, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Our study affirms and may help explain why people who regularly use cocaine are more willing to partake in risky sex when under the influence of cocaine," said study author Matthew Johnson in a university news release. He's an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Public health officials and physicians should be ensuring that cocaine users are supplied with condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease, Johnson said. Cocaine is a ... Read more

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Gay Men Less Likely to Have Safe Sex Now: Survey

Posted 13 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2017 – In a sign that powerful new ways to treat and prevent HIV are relaxing attitudes about safer sex, a new survey finds that gay and bisexual men are much less likely to use condoms than they were two decades ago. Men questioned at a Atlanta gay pride event in 2015 – including HIV-positive men – were more likely to say they'd recently had anal sex without a condom compared to men who were questioned at the same event in 2006 and 1997. Although there are signs that the rates of other sexually transmitted infections have increased and the possibility of a drug-resistant strain of the once-deadly virus looms, HIV experts said the condom-less trend may not be as troubling as it appears. "There has been an increase in the understanding that condom-less anal sex is not risky" if men take a drug to prevent HIV infection or take medication if they are already infected, ... Read more

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