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Doctors' Group Offers Ideas for Easing Cancer Costs

Posted 7 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

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

Most Breast Cancer Patients Have Help Choosing Treatments

Posted 16 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

Related support groups: Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Evista, Megestrol, Zoladex, Tasigna, Megace, Herceptin, Sprycel

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

Related support groups: Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Evista, Megestrol, Zoladex, Tasigna, Megace, Herceptin, Sprycel

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, Fluorouracil, Tretinoin, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Rituxan, Lung Cancer, Isotretinoin, Colorectal Cancer

Many Breast Cancer Survivors Don't Get Life-Extending Therapy

Posted 2 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – Hormonal therapies such as tamoxifen, or a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, can reduce the likelihood that women diagnosed with certain breast cancers will experience a recurrence of their disease. However, a new study finds these treatments – used in breast cancers that are responsive to hormones such as estrogen – are too seldom utilized or often used incorrectly. According to the research team, if all U.S. breast cancer survivors who needed them followed recommendations for hormone therapy, that could mean almost 15,000 lives saved over a decade. Unfortunately, these drugs are "still underused, and in some cases, misused – offered to patients who lack [estrogen] hormone receptors" on their tumor cells, explained study senior author Dr. Dezheng Huo. He's associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Chicago. As the ... Read more

Related support groups: Nausea/Vomiting, Hot Flashes, Breast Cancer, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Tamoxifen Hexal, Nolvadex, Soltamox, Tamone, Emblon, Tamoxen, Genox

'Chemo Brain' Lasts for Months in Many Breast Cancer Survivors

Posted 11 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – "Chemo brain" – the mental fog common after breast cancer treatment – can persist for six months, new research shows. The finding comes from one of the largest studies to date to look at chemotherapy-related thinking problems that plague many women treated for breast cancer. Those problems can include memory lapses, attention issues and difficulty processing information. When researchers compared hundreds of U.S. women six months after chemotherapy ended with hundreds of healthy women, they found more than one-third of the chemotherapy group had a decline in thinking scores versus less than 15 percent of the others. "The bottom line is, this is a real problem, patients are having difficulties and we need to acknowledge it is one of the difficulties of treatment," said Dr. Patricia Ganz. Ganz is director of cancer prevention and control research at the ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Evista, Zoladex, Megestrol, Megace, Herceptin, Afinitor, Aromasin

Study Casts More Doubt on Value of Mammograms

Posted 10 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2017 – Mammograms frequently detect small breast tumors that might never become life-threatening, causing women to receive treatment they likely don't need, a new Danish study finds. About one in every three women between the ages of 50 and 69 who was diagnosed with breast cancer wound up having a tumor that posed no immediate threat to her health, the researchers reported. At the same time, mammography did not reduce the number of advanced breast cancers found in women in the study. "This means that breast screening is unlikely to improve breast cancer survival or reduce the use of invasive surgery," said study author Dr. Karsten Juhl Jorgensen, deputy director of research for the Nordic Cochrane Center at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. "It also means that breast screening leads to unnecessary detection and treatment of many breast cancers." Dr. Otis Brawley, chief ... Read more

Related support groups: Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Evista, Zoladex, Megestrol, Megace, Herceptin, Aromasin, Exemestane, Casodex, Eligard

Angelina Jolie's Mastectomies Tied to Rise in Genetic Testing

Posted 15 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 15, 2016 – After actress Angelina Jolie had both breasts removed because she faced a heightened risk for breast cancer, there was a spike in the number of women who were tested for the genes that raise that risk. But, there was no corresponding increase in mastectomy rates, researchers report. Jolie's 2013 announcement about her decision was delivered in an editorial in The New York Times. "That editorial was widely shared on social media, and we saw a jump in BRCA gene testing the day after the editorial," said lead researcher Sunita Desai. She is a fellow in the department of health care policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "In the two weeks after the editorial, we found a 64 percent jump in gene testing, compared with gene testing in the two weeks before the editorial, and a $13.5 million increase in spending on BRCA testing in this population," she said. "The ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Diagnosis and Investigation, Testolactone, Teslac

Certain Breast Cancer Drugs Tied to Blood Vessel Damage

Posted 9 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 – Women on breast cancer drugs called aromatase inhibitors may show signs of early blood vessel damage that could lead to heart disease, a small study suggests. Researchers found that compared with healthy women their age, women on aromatase inhibitors were more likely to show signs of "endothelial dysfunction." That refers to problems in how the blood vessel lining responds to blood flow. The findings are based on just 36 women who were prescribed the drugs. And experts stressed it's too early to know what to make of the results. Still, the study adds to evidence linking aromatase inhibitors to elevated risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and possibly full-blown heart disease. Aromatase inhibitors include the drugs Aromasin (exemestane), Arimidex (anastrozole) and Femara (letrozole). These drugs work by lowering a woman's estrogen levels, and are often ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer, Infectious Heart Disease, Teslac, Testolactone

New Drug Combo Shows Promise Curbing Tough-to-Treat Breast Cancer

Posted 8 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 – In women with a certain form of tough-to-treat breast cancer, treatment with a combination of two drugs appeared to keep the cancer at bay longer – from about five months to 10, a new study says. The cancer is known as "advanced hormone receptor positive, HER 2 negative" breast cancer. Women with these tumors are often given drugs called aromatase inhibitors, which work by reducing estrogen in the body and slowing the growth of the cancer. However, patients commonly develop resistance to aromatase inhibitor drugs, and they stop working. This is also known as endocrine therapy resistance. The new research may offer these patients some hope, researchers said. "Our study has shown that combining a newer medicine called everolimus [Afinitor] with a more established medicine, fulvestrant [Faslodex], has demonstrated benefit in aromatase inhibitor resistant breast ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Estradiol, Premarin, Ethinyl Estradiol, Estrace, Arimidex, Femara, Vagifem, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Estrace Vaginal Cream, Anastrozole, Vivelle, Climara, Letrozole, Estring, Vivelle-Dot, Premarin Vaginal, Afinitor, Estradiol Patch, Aromasin

Breast Cancer Cells May Change When They Spread to Brain: Study

Posted 7 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 – When breast cancer spreads to the brain, important molecular changes may occur in the cancer, a small study found. The discovery of these changes could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment, the researchers said. About 20 percent of breast cancers are a type known as HER2-positive, which typically respond to targeted therapies. However, HER2-negative breast cancer that has spread to the brain doesn't respond to the same therapies. In this study, researchers analyzed tumors from 20 patients in the United States and Ireland. They found that primary breast cancer identified as HER2-negative switched to HER2-positive when it spread to the brain. The findings show that treatments should target not only the original breast cancer, but also brain tumors, said study author Adrian Lee, director of the Institute for Precision Medicine, part of the University of ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Estradiol, Premarin, Ethinyl Estradiol, Estrace, Arimidex, Femara, Vagifem, Estrace Vaginal Cream, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Vivelle, Climara, Letrozole, Estring, Premarin Vaginal, Vivelle-Dot, Herceptin, Estradiol Patch, Aromasin

Taking Breast Cancer Prevention Drug Beyond 5 Years May Not Raise Survival

Posted 7 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 – Many breast cancer survivors take anti-estrogen drugs for at least five years to help lessen their risk of recurrence. Now, new research suggests that taking such a drug for an even longer period might not confer any added benefit – at least in terms of survival. The study of thousands of older breast cancer survivors found that taking the aromatase inhibitor drug letrozole (Femara) for more than the recommended five years did not help them live longer. However, other benefits were noted, so the decision to extend use of drugs like these is one best made on a case-by-case basis, cancer specialists said. One oncologist who reviewed the new findings said the study has been "eagerly awaited," since many breast cancer survivors are counseled to take an aromatase inhibitor. "For now, this trial reinforces the need to listen to our patients and weigh out the risk ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Breast Cancer - Male, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer, Teslac, Testolactone

Intense Chemo Offers Little Benefit for Early Breast Cancer: Study

Posted 9 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9, 2016 – A more intense type of chemotherapy offers little benefit over standard chemotherapy for women with high-risk early breast cancer, European researchers report. Known as tailored dose-dense chemotherapy, the treatments are given over a shorter period of time without increasing the overall dose. It has been suggested as a way to improve the effectiveness of the treatment for early breast cancer. However, the European study did not find a difference in recurrence-free survival or overall survival after five years of follow-up. The investigators did find that the dose-dense group had better event-free survival, defined as the time to any breast cancer relapse, cancer in the opposite breast, other malignant growths or death from any cause. Despite the results, a U.S. breast cancer expert said there is still a role for the approach in certain women. Researchers from ... Read more

Related support groups: Depo-Provera, Provera, Breast Cancer, Lupron, Medroxyprogesterone, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Evista, Zoladex, Megestrol, Megace, Herceptin, Aromasin, Exemestane, Casodex

More Evidence Tamoxifen, Other Meds Help Limit Breast Cancer's Spread

Posted 6 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 – Treatment with tamoxifen or another class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors does cut breast cancer patients' risk of developing cancer in their other breast, a new study finds. Some breast cancers rely on estrogen to help them grow, and drugs like tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitors (which include anastrozole) have long been prescribed to certain breast cancer survivors. Tamoxifen blocks estrogen receptors in the breast cells to hamper cancer growth. Anastrozole stops estrogen production in fat tissue, which makes small amounts of the hormone. According to background information in the new study, about 5 percent of breast cancer patients develop cancer in their other breast (contralateral breast cancer) within 10 years after their initial breast cancer diagnosis. Prior clinical trials had concluded that tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors reduce this risk, ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Tamoxifen Hexal, Nolvadex, Soltamox, Tamone, Emblon, Tamoxen, Genox, Teslac

Smoking May Hinder Common Breast Cancer Treatment

Posted 24 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24, 2016 – Smoking may blunt the effectiveness of a certain kind of breast cancer treatment, new research suggests. Among breast cancer patients taking a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, smokers had a three times greater risk of their cancer returning than nonsmokers, the investigators found. However, the study could not prove a cause-and-effect link. Smoking had little or no effect on the benefit of other drugs, such as chemotherapy or tamoxifen, or radiation treatment, the study authors added. "These findings need confirmation. If confirmed, smoking status should be taken into consideration when selecting the type of [breast cancer] therapy," said lead researcher Helena Jernstrom. She is an associate professor of experimental oncology at Lund University Cancer Center in Sweden. Common aromatase inhibitors include Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane) ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Breast Cancer, Smoking Cessation, Arimidex, Femara, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Anastrozole, Letrozole, Aromasin, Exemestane, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer, Testolactone, Teslac

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