Category Archives: Cancer

After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies – LA Times

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200px-Flag-map_of_TexasThe state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.

The analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, documents a significant increase in births among women who had previously received birth control at clinics that no longer get state funding.

Source: After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies – LA Times

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Texas tries to repair damage it has inflicted on its family planning services

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By Wade Goodwyn
200px-Flag-map_of_TexasNPR

For the past five years, the Texas Legislature has done everything in its power to defund Planned Parenthood. But it’s not so easy to target that organization without hurting family planning clinics around the state generally.

The researchers found that two years after the cuts, Texas’ women’s health program managed to serve fewer than half the number of women it had before.

The Legislature’s own researchers predicted that more than 20,000 resulting unplanned births would cost taxpayers more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal and state Medicaid support.

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US cancer centers urge HPV vaccination

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hpvSixty-nine top US cancer centers, including Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, have issued a letter urging that adolescents, teens and young adults to be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV).

They write:

Approximately 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 14 million new infections occur each year. Several types of high-risk HPV are responsible for the vast majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers.

The CDC also reports that each year in the U.S., 27,000 men and women are diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer, which amounts to a new case every 20 minutes. Even though many of these HPV-related cancers are preventable with a safe and effective vaccine, HPV vaccination rates across the U.S. remain low.

Together we, a group of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers, recognize these low rates of HPV vaccination as a serious public health threat. HPV vaccination represents a rare opportunity to prevent many cases of cancer that is tragically underused. As national leaders in cancer research and clinical care, we are compelled to jointly issue this call to action. Continue reading

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Patient education event about brain tumor management

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All are welcome to attend Swedish’s Seattle First Annual Innovative Approaches to Brain Tumor Management Patient Education Course set for Friday, March 18, 2016 from 5:30 to 8 a.m. at the Seattle Science Foundation.

Leading experts in the field will come together to discuss the future of brain tumor management including the progress in personalized medicine and implications of immunotherapy in specializing treatment.

The event is free. To learn more and to register go here.

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Cancer now leading cause of death in 22 states – Associated Press

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Lung CancerCancer is becoming the No. 1 killer in more and more states as deaths from heart disease have declined, new health statistics show.

Nationwide, heart disease is still the leading cause of death, just ahead of cancer.

While death rates for both have been falling for nearly 25 years, heart disease has dropped at a steeper rate.As a result, cancer moved up to the top slot in 22 states in 2014, according to the latest government figures.

Source: News from The Associated Press

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E-cigarette ads reach nearly 7 in 10 middle and high-school students

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From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About 7 in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, in newspapers and magazines, or on television and in movies, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.

E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence, rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products.

Advertising of tobacco products has been shown to cause youth to start using those products.

The unrestricted marketing of e-cigarettes and dramatic increases in their use by youth could reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among youth.

“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “I hope all can agree that kids should not use e-cigarettes.” Continue reading

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Many doctors don’t urge HPV shots for preteens, leading to low vaccination rates, study says | Deseret News

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Cytological specimen showing cervical cancer specifically squamous cell carcinoma in the cervix. Tissue is stained with Pap stain and magnified x200. PHOTO courtesy of NCI

Cervical cancer cells

Many pediatricians and family doctors are not strongly recommending the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine to preteens and their parents, contributing to low vaccination rates, a survey of nearly 600 doctors suggests.

The vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus, which is spread through sex and can cause several kinds of cancer, including cervical cancer.

The most common reasons doctors cited for delaying HPV discussions and vaccinations included a belief that patients hadn’t had sex and that parents would object.

Source: Many doctors don’t urge HPV shots for preteens, leading to low vaccination rates, study says | Deseret News

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Medicare payment changes lead more men to get colonoscopies

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Illustration of the colon from Gray's AnatomyBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

Medicare Payment Changes Lead More Men To Get Screening Colonoscopies

Men are getting more screening colonoscopies since the health law reduced how much Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket for the preventive tests, a recent study found. The change, however, didn’t affect women’s rates.

, published in the December issue of Health Affairs, compared rates of screening for colorectal cancer among people age 66 to 75 before and after the health law passed in 2010.

Starting in 2011, that law waived the Medicare Part B deductible (which totals $147 annually in 2015) and eliminated the requirement that beneficiaries pay 20 percent of the cost for screening colonoscopies.

The study found that in men, colonoscopy screening rates increased from 18 to 22 percent following implementation of the health law, a 20 percent increase.

The data came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The study found that in men, colonoscopy screening rates increased from 18 to 22 percent following implementation of the health law, a 20 percent increase. In women, however, the rate didn’t budge, remaining at 18 percent even after the law passed. Continue reading

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Hep Saavy: All baby boomers should get screened for Hepatitis C

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Public Health – Seattle & King County

Are you a baby boomer born between 1945 and 1965, or have a family member who is? Read on to learn about an important new screening your health care provider will be offering their baby boomer patients.Hepatitis C by the numbers

Recent guidelines recommend that all baby boomers should be screened for Hep C. That’s right – all baby boomers

.Viral hepatitis is an alphabet soup of diseases, defined by liver inflammation and caused by different viruses (Hepatitis A, B, C, D, & E). Hep A, B, and C are the most common forms (click the links for more information and signs and symptoms):

  • Hep A: Typically spread through contaminated water or food, including fruits, vegetables and shellfish.  It may also be spread through close contact with an infectious person. Children are routinely vaccinated for Hep A. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic infections (long term or lifelong).
  • Hep B: Typically spread through contact with blood or body fluids on an infected person. A vaccine is available and is typically given at birth and with subsequent vaccination. Hepatitis B can cause chronic infection.
  • Hep C: Typically spread contact with the blood of an infected person, such as through intravenous drug use, non-sterile medical equipment, and blood transfusions before 1992 (blood is now screened to prevent Hep C transmission). Less commonly, a person can also get Hep C through sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes or having sex with a person infected with the Hep C.

Hep C causes a chronic infection in most people and often doesn’t show symptoms until the disease is well advanced. People with advanced Hep C can develop cirrhosis (liver scarring), cancer, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants. There is no vaccine, but there are very effective new treatment options.

Recent guidelines recommend that all baby boomers should be screened for Hep C. That’s right – all baby boomers, even those who haven’t had a transfusion or don’t think they’ve had a known risk factor. Continue reading

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Special treatment for firefighters with cancer? Some states say yes

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By Jenni Bergal
Stateline

Mark Rine was just 30 when he was diagnosed with deadly, stage 4 melanoma after his wife noticed a dark spot on his back. In the three years since, doctors have cut out some of the Columbus, Ohio, firefighter’s lymph nodes, treated him with chemotherapy and discovered inoperable cancerous tumors on his spine and lung.

“I fought a lot of fires. Abandoned homes, kitchen fires, car fires, dumpster fires,” Rine said. “That’s how I got this mother of all cancers.”

Firefighters can become eligible for benefits without having to prove that their cancer was job-related.

Had Rine been a firefighter in one of nearly three dozen other states, it might have been easier for him to receive disability benefits: Those states have laws that presume certain cancers are related to firefighters’ jobs and their exposure to toxic smoke and fumes.

That means firefighters can become eligible for benefits without having to prove that their cancer was job-related. It would be up to a firefighter’s employer, usually a city or a county, to prove the cancer was in fact caused by something else. Continue reading

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More getting mammograms under Medicaid expansion

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Doctor inspects mammogram. Photo by Bill Branson/NCI

Doctor inspects mammogram. Photo by Bill Branson/NCI

By Lynne Shallcross
KHN

If you’re a low-income woman, you’re more likely to get screened for breast cancer if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act than in a state that didn’t.

According to new research, low-income women who lived in a handful of early-adopter states that implemented Medicaid expansion by 2011 were 25 percent more likely to be screened for breast cancer in 2012 than women in non-expansion states.

That’s a big change from 2008, when low-income women in both sets of states had similar odds of being screened. The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Continue reading

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Aid-in-dying laws only accentuate need for palliative care, providers say

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Dr. Carin van Zyl talks to patient Jose Garcia Flores about his treatment options for his advanced stage colon cancer on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

Dr. Carin van Zyl talks to patient Jose Garcia Flores about his treatment options for his advanced stage colon cancer on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

By Anna Gorman
KHN

LOS ANGELES — More times than she can count, Dr. Carin van Zyl has heard terminally ill patients beg to die. They tell her they can’t handle the pain, that the nausea is unbearable and the anxiety overwhelming.

If she were in the same situation, she too would want life-ending medication, even though she doubts she would ever take it. “I would want an escape hatch,” she said.

Earlier this month, California law became the fifth — and largest — state to allow physicians to prescribe lethal medications to certain patients who ask for it.

Yet van Zyl can’t see herself as one of those doctors.

“This is my life’s work, to relieve suffering,” said van Zyl, head of palliative care medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. To her, that does not mean cutting short a life.

“I can’t imagine pulling the trigger,” she said.

Weeks after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the “end-of-life option act” into law, palliative care physicians like van Zyl are trying to come to terms with what it means for them and their terminally ill patients. Continue reading

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