News from the cancer side, January 23



This week has been a funny combination of presidential inauguration euphoria and peanut butter alarm. Let’s hope that next week will be quieter one. Here is your cancer news for the weekend.

News from the outpatient clinics

Medication errors among adults and children with cancer in the outpatient setting.
This is definitely not the best of news but it has to be mentioned anyhow. It seems that medication errors are quite common among adult and pediatric outpatients suffering from cancer. According to a new study supported in part by AHRQ’s Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) program, 7%of adults and 19% of children on chemotherapy drugs were given the wrong dosage or experienced other medication errors in outpatient clinics or at home. Talk about adding insult to injury.

News from the epidemiologists

UC Davis study links smoking with most male cancer deaths
An epidemiological analysis by researchers at the University of California Davis reported that more than 70% of the cancer death burden among the male population of the state of Massachusetts in 2003 is linked to tobacco smoking. This is much higher than the previous estimate of 34% in 2001. The new estimate takes second hand smoke into account as well. According to lead author Bruce Leistikow
“This study provides support for the growing understanding among researchers that smoking is a cause of many more cancer deaths besides lung cancer…The full impacts of tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, have been overlooked in the rush to examine such potential cancer factors as diet and environmental contaminants. As it turns out, much of the answer was probably smoking all along.”

News from the consumers

More americans skipping necessary prescriptions, group says
These are tough times and many people really have it hard. The New York Times report that more and more Americans are going without prescription drugs for lack of funds. The article was based on a survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington, D.C., which reported that “since 2003…one in 10 people under 65 went without a prescription drug because they couldn’t afford it.” Many people are on prescription drugs because of chronic conditions. Without these drugs, their health will deteriorate. These troubling findings clearly show a need for reforms in the US healthcare systems.

News from the regulators

FDA not effectively monitoring investigator conflicts of interest, HHS watchdog says
One government health agency reprimanding another. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accuses the US FDA of not effectively regulating conflicts of interests in relation to clinical trials of drugs. There have been several scandals in relation to monetary compensation of clinical trial investigators by pharmaceutical companies, a fact which can bias study results.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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