Battling cancer, video of hope

March 11, 2012 by  
Filed under CANCER, VIDEO

Dr. Jud Fisher of Healthcare Partners of Nevada Discusses Men’s Health

June 17, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

Dr. Jud Fisher, a renown family practitioner, talks with the Las Vegas Morning Blend channel 13 about men’s health during Men’s Health Week.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Schizophrenia patients and hospital injuries

August 10, 2010 by  

Schizophrenia is often equated to mental illness and patients with schizophrenia are often treated as mentally ill. This is probably why patients who suffer from schizophrenia are more likely to incur injuries during hospitalization than non-schizophrenic patients, according to a recent study by researchers at Bloomberg Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. These injuries can occur during hospital admissions due to medical conditions that may not be related to schizophrenia itself include decubitus ulcers (bedsores) and serious complications such as sepsis, infection and postoperative respiratory failure.

The researchers looked at records of hospital discharges in 3,605 U.S. hospitals from 2002 to 2007 using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. The study looked at 269,387 hospitalizations of patients with schizophrenia and more than 37 million hospitalizations of patients without schizophrenia.

The almost double than usual rate of postoperative respiratory failure is especially a cause for concern as this complication can be life-threatening. In the study, the researchers found 24.2 incidences of postoperative respiratory failure per 1,000 hospitalizations among schizophrenia patients vs 9.2 incidences for non-schizophrenic hospital patients. 36.6 vs. 27.7 incidences of bedsores per 1,000 hospitalizations were recorded for patients with vs. without schizophrenia.

So why are people with schizophrenia vulnerable to such injuries? The study authors believe that “the combination of medical illness, medications that patients with schizophrenia already take and communication gaps put them at risk for the elevated patient safety events that we observed.

Some experts are not surprised. According to Chris Koyanagi, policy director at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington.

“It does not surprise us that this study found various ways in which people with schizophrenia were not receiving optimum health care. We hear anecdotal reports from individuals that their primary care providers and medical specialists do not always listen to their physical complaints seriously, but write them off as part of their mental illness.”

The results of the study highlight the need for better health care delivery not only to patients with schizophrenia but others suffering from some form of mental disorders. Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% American adults.

The non-medical needs of heart failure patients

May 18, 2009 by  

hands-holdingPatients who are terminally ill and their caregivers get the so-called palliative care which focuses on reducing the suffering of the patients and easing the burden off caregivers and family members. This type of care, however, is not provided to less severe (but nonetheless life-threatening) chronically ill patients and their families. However, there is a general feeling that some of their needs – especially non-medical needs – aren’t given the attention they deserve, according to a research study reported at the American Heart Association’s 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. This is especially true in patients with heart failure (and their caregivers), who expressed distress over the following:

not knowing what to expect

being unable to relieve symptoms

a lack of communication with medical staff

Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine conducted in-depth interviews with 33 outpatients with heart failure and 20 caregivers. The interviewees were asked what the following in relation to the situation of having heart failure:

  • What causes them distress?
  • What would they find most helpful?
  • What are the unmet needs with regards to symptom management, psychosocial care and planning?

The results of the interviews indicate that

Uncertainty causes a lot of distress.

Patients and their caregivers want to know more about what to expect about the disease, its management, and prognosis.

Patients also need more help with symptom relief.

Finally, patients and carers expressed their desire for more communication with their health care providers.

According to lead researcher Dr. David Bekelman

“Most teams treating heart failure are medically focused. There is little guidance on the emotional, financial, spiritual and social impact of heart failure. This study helps define a role for palliative care in addressing the needs of heart failure patients and their caregivers.”

It seems that chronically ill patients such as those with heart failure have unmet needs that go beyond just mere medical care. There is a need for psychological and social support for these patients and their caregivers. Previous studies have shown that heart patients are prone to depression that can affect their overall quality of life. Their caregivers are affected as well.

Dr. Bekelman continues:

“There are unmet needs in the management of this disease. People need to know what to expect in the future of the illness and require help in adjusting to the limitations of heart failure by learning what steps they can take to improve the quality of their lives.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

What you know can influence your cancer treatment

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

book2In this day and age, more and more patients seek information of their health conditions and treatments over the Internet where such information is easily available and usually for free. General information about diseases like cancer can be found on sites of advocacy groups (example: Susan Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society [ACS]) and medical and research institutions (example: National Cancer Institute [NCI], Mayo Clinic, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). In addition, information about drugs and treatments are openly available on the websites of regulators bodies and health authorities (example: US FDA, European Medicines Agency). It is estimated that four out of ten of cancer patients look for information about their condition on the Internet.

In addition to large amount of information available, patients have become more aware of health issues, have become more autonomous. More and more patients take a proactive role and want to have a say in the treatment and management of their conditions rather than leaving everything up to the doctor.

But how does this increased level of patient knowledge of health information affect his or her treatment?

An article to be published in the April issue of Cancer, a journal of the ACS reports that “when colorectal cancer patients seek out health information from the internet and news media,… they can influence their own treatment.” They are, for example, are more likely to be informed about the latest treatments for their disease and receive them. However, in certain cases, this knowledge can also influence their treatments in “inappropriate ways.”

Researchers at the NCI Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School designed a study to examine the relationship between information-seeking among 633 colorectal cancer patients chosen at random from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and the use of novel new agents for the disease.

The researchers specifically looked at patient knowledge of targeted therapies such as bevacizumab (Avastin) and cetuximab (Erbitux). The drugs have recently been approved by the US FDA and have had significant media coverage. The researchers investigated whether information seeking activity of patients is correlated to their actual awareness of the said targeted therapies and whether this awareness translates into receiving these therapies. The results of the studies showed that:

·        High levels of information seeking were strongly associated with both awareness of and receiving treatment using targeted therapies.

·        Patients who sought information about treatments for colorectal cancer were 2.83 times more likely to have heard about targeted therapies and 3.22 times more likely to have received targeted therapies than people who did not seek information.

It is to be noted that these targeted therapies are only approved by the US FDA for advanced colorectal cancer. The abovementioned associations however, were found to be true for patients with advanced as a well as early stage colorectal cancer, indicating that patients and their knowledge may influence their treatments in an inappropriate way.

The authors conclude:

“These findings emphasize the importance of exploring patient influence on physician prescribing patterns and understanding the impact of information seeking on cancer outcomes.”

In my opinion, every patient has the right to seek information and be aware about the latest treatments. However, we should also respect our doctors’ knowledge and expertise and that the decision for a certain treatment should be in agreement with our doctors, and not against doctors’ orders.

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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.