Cancer in the headlines, June 18



Take the Cancer Risk Check online at MD Anderson
What is your likelihood of getting cancer. Calculate your cancer risk online using the MD Anderson Cancer Risk Check. It checks for a woman’s risk for breast and cervical cancer, a man’s risk for prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and skin cancer. It takes into consideration gender, ethnicity, family history, diet and physical exercise. After your cancer risk is calculated “you’ll receive customized suggestions for lifestyle changes and cancer screening exams that may help you prevent cancer.”

COST AND CANCER

Cost concerns prevent many cancer survivors from getting medical care
Cost is a barrier to getting medical care to about 2 million cancer survivors in the US. This is according to researchers who analyzed data from the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Cancer survivors are more likely to delay or skip medical check ups than those without cancer despite the fact that survivors have special medical needs for many years. A breakdown of the prevalence of foregoing medical care among survivors is as follows:

  • 7.8% for medical care
  • 9.9% for prescription medications
  • 11.3%for dental care
  • 2.7% for mental health care

Medicare cuts increase cancer treatments, study finds
Interestingly enough, less money doesn’t always mean less health care, according to a study by researchers at Harvard Medical School. Certainly not in cancer treatment. Since the passage of the 2005 Medicare Modernization Act, the rate of chemotherapy treatments actually increased despite the reduction of Medicare reimbursements to doctors. This paradox may be puzzling to some but not to economists. But this is only true for chemotherapy wherein doctors purchase the drugs and get reimbursed by health insurance providers. This doesn’t or wouldn’t apply to prescription drugs that patients have to fill and pay for.

NEW CANCER TREATMENT APPROVALS

FDA Approves New Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer
This week, the US FDA approved Jevtana (cabazitaxel), a chemotherapy drug for prostate cancer. Cabazitaxel is approved in combination with the steroid prednisone. It is the “first treatment for advanced, hormone-refractory, prostate cancer that has worsened during or after treatment with docetaxel, a commonly used drug for advanced prostate cancer.” Jevtana is marketed in the US by Sanofi-Aventis based in Bridgewater, N.J.

FDA Approves New Indication for Tasigna
Tasigna (nilotinib) is now approved for the treatment of a rare form of blood cancer called  Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CP-CML) caused by a genetic abnormality. The safety of Tasigna was initially questioned due to adverse cardiovascular effects. Tasigna is marketed in the US by Novartis Pharmaceuticals based in East Hanover, N.J.

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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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Healthcare updates, June 18

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