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Many Cancer Patients Skimp on Treatment Due to Cost

Posted 24 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2017 – The high cost of cancer care in the United States has led more than one-quarter of patients to cut back on some part of their treatment, a new survey reveals. Commissioned by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the report found that 27 percent of cancer survivors or close relatives of a cancer patient said they'd skipped doctor visits or taken other steps to reduce health costs. To save money, nearly one in 10 said they had avoided doctor appointments. Eight percent had refused treatment; postponed filling or not filled prescriptions; or skipped doses of prescribed medications. And 7 percent said they had cut pills in half, according to the survey of more than 4,000 adults. Such measures can jeopardize treatment success, ASCO says. "We should all be alarmed that Americans are potentially risking not only their health, but also their lives, due to ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Depo-Provera, Provera, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Fluorouracil, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Anastrozole, Votrient, Letrozole, Tarceva

FDA Approves Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for Previously Treated Patients with Recurrent Locally Advanced or Metastatic Gastric or Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer Whose Tumors Express PD-L1

Posted 25 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE) September 22, 2017 --Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the company’s anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy, for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1 [Combined Positive Score (CPS) ≥1] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after two or more prior lines of therapy including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy. This indication is approved under the FDA’s accelerated approval regulations based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be conti ... Read more

Related support groups: Keytruda, Gastric Cancer, Pembrolizumab

Cancer Takes Financial Toll, Even With Insurance

Posted 10 Aug 2017 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

Gum Disease May Be Linked to Cancer Risk in Older Women

Posted 1 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2017 – A new study links gum disease with an increased risk of several types of cancer in postmenopausal women, even in women who never smoked. So-called periodontal disease was tied to a 14 percent higher risk of developing any type of cancer, the investigators found. But the greatest risk was for esophageal cancer, which was more than three times more likely in older women who had gum disease than those who didn't. In addition, gum disease was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer, gallbladder cancer, melanoma and breast cancer, the findings showed. "These findings may provide a new target to test an intervention for cancer prevention – oral hygiene and periodontal disease treatment and prevention," said lead researcher Jean Wactawski-Wende. She is dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the State University of New York at Buffalo. ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Oral and Dental Conditions, Lung Cancer, Gingivitis, Melanoma, Head and Neck Cancer, Periodontitis, Diagnosis and Investigation, Prevention of Dental Caries, Gastric Cancer, Salivary Gland Cancer

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

Related support groups: Cancer, Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Prostate Cancer, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Anastrozole, Brain Tumor, Letrozole, Skin Cancer, Tarceva

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

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Gleevec, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Votrient, Tarceva, Tasigna, Avastin, Pancreatic Cancer, Sprycel, Sutent, Afinitor, Nexavar, Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Stomach Cancer, Cytoxan

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, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Brain Tumor, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Skin Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Stomach Cancer

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, Medroxyprogesterone, Prostate Cancer, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Fluorouracil, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Anastrozole, Brain Tumor, Votrient, Letrozole

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

Do Blacks, Hispanics Get Low Quality Hospice Care?

Posted 6 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 5, 2017 – Hospice quality varies, with blacks and Hispanics often getting less desirable end-of-life care, a new study finds. Researchers surveyed thousands of caregivers whose loved ones died in hospice care. They found that minority patients were more likely to receive care in poorer quality hospices than white patients. They also said that family caregivers of black and Hispanic hospice patients were less likely to receive adequate emotional and religious support. "Our findings highlight the need to ensure that blacks and Hispanics have access to high-quality and culturally competent hospice services," said study lead author Rebecca Anhang Price, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corp. "This is particularly important as people from these groups increase their use of hospice services," she added in a RAND news release. The report wasn't all bad news for ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Skin Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Gastric Cancer

Big Gap in Cancer Deaths Between Rich, Poor Countries

Posted 22 Jun 2017 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, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Gastric Cancer

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

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

FDA Warns 14 Companies on Bogus Cancer 'Cures'

Posted 25 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday posted warning letters to 14 companies that are selling more than 65 fake cancer treatments. The bogus products include pills, capsules, powders, creams, teas, oils and treatment and diagnostic kits. They're most commonly marketed and sold without FDA approval on websites and social media platforms, the FDA announcement of its action said. The treatments are frequently advertised as "natural" and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, the agency added. "Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially lifesaving cancer diagnosis or treatment," said Douglas Stearn. He is director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs. "We encourage people to ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Melatonin, Fish Oil, Colorectal Cancer, Glucosamine, Lovaza, Turmeric, 5-HTP, Garlic, St. John's Wort, Cranberry, Valerian, Creatine, Green Tea, Chondroitin, Lysine, Tryptophan, Milk Thistle, Evening Primrose

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