82 Percent Of Americans Think Health Care System Needs Major Overhaul

Wow, just Wow!

Americans are dissatisfied with the U.S. health care system and 82 percent think it should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to a survey by The Commonwealth Fund. Also The Commonwealth Fund Commission on A High Performance Health System released a report outlining what an ideally organized U.S. health care system would look like, and detailing strategies that could create that organized, efficient health care system while simultaneously improving care and cutting costs.

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BPA and chemotherapy

There is newly released research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives regarding BPA interaction with chemotherapy.  Their conclusion?

BPA at environmentally relevant doses reduces the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. These data provide considerable support to the accumulating evidence that BPA is hazardous to human health.

In other words without using excessive doses of BPA protects both estrogen receptor positive and negative breast cancer tumors.  The chemo drugs that were tested are doxorubicin, cisplatin and vinblastine.

Doxorubicin (Adriamycin/Rubex) is also used to treat bladder, head and neck, liver, lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancers as well as some leukemias and lymphomas.

Cisplatin (Platinol) is also used to treat testicular, ovarian and bladder cancers as well as Hodgkins and non Hodgkins lymphomas.

Vinblastine (Alkaban/Velban) is also used to treat lung, bladder, head and neck and other cancers as well as some Hodgkins and non Hodgkins lymphomas.

The research did not report on the effect of BPA on these chemotherapeutic agents with other cancer types. In August 2008 the FDA released the following statement:  FDA concludes that an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses, for infants and adults.

Here is the link to the entire study in PDF format.

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Breast cancer kills more poor women

Unfortunately this is something that deep down in our hearts we have all known. The interesting this here is that the research shows that this is the case in breast cancer but not in lung, pancreatic, cervical and bladder cancers. There is more from the BBC.

Suicidal thoughts

Have your friends and family been watching you more closely than usual? Asking “How are you doing, really?” a little more often than before. Maybe it’s because the BBC ran a story last week entitled:

Cancer patients ‘left suicidal’

There was a research study done that showed:

A significant number of cancer patients regularly believe they would be “better off dead”, a survey shows.

Well shit! If I knew anyone with cancer I’d be really worried. Then I went on to read the article. I don’t think these results should really be stunning to anyone.

Cancer patients are three times more likely to think they would be “better off dead” or to contemplate suicide than the rest of the population – a Cancer Research UK study reports online today.*

Patients were most likely to have these thoughts if they had substantial pain and particularly if they had serious emotional distress.

Well of COURSE THEY DID! I guess the people who did this study had not previously talked to people with cancer or people in pain. There was further information in this study which showed when 3,000 outpatients with a variety of cancers, answered a questionnaire about their physical and emotional symptoms. Continue reading

Femara + Zometa = longer life?

I have an appointment with my oncologist on Monday. I am sure that he is going to think I am his most annoying patient, however, I have new research to review with him.

See, I take Femara and while I love the fact that Femara does a very good job of keeping breast cancer away (aromatase inhibition) it does a heck of a job eating away at bone. Knowing that it can reduce bone density by 8 percent per year we’ve had regular bone density studies and wouldn’t you know, I’ve gone from normal bone density to osteopenic in one year.

So now I take Femara and Fosamax, with the addition of the second medication to try to build my bones back up.

A few months ago there was research showing that Zometa use in cases of women with breast cancer before natural menopause showed a significant decrease in recurrence. Well just last week there were three clinical trials reporting the same results. I’m excited by the prospect so I’ll see you Monday doc.

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Risk of Breast cancer mutation underestimated in Asian Women

Oncologist Allison Kurian, MD, and her colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine were perplexed. Computer models designed to identify women who might have dangerous genetic mutations that increase their risk of breast and ovarian cancer worked well for white women. But they seemed to be less reliable for another ethnic group.

“We’ve been repeatedly surprised when Asian women who the models predicted would probably not have the mutations do in fact have them,” said Kurian. She recently showed that in a head-to-head comparison between whites and Asians, two of the most commonly used models failed in predicting the presence of mutations in almost half of the Asian women studied.

“Doctors and patients should have a higher level of suspicion when using these prediction models in Asian women, because they under-predicted the true number of clinically important mutations,” said Kurian. “We may have to consider more subtle patterns of family cancer history when considering genetic testing in this ethnic group.” Continue reading

Using hair to diagnose cancer

Now, I won’t be getting mammograms any longer but the rest of you will, unless…The Australian company Fermiscan, who is developing a new breast cancer screening test through the analysis of an individual’s hair. At this time it has demonstrated an accuracy rate of 69% in detecting breast cancer.  more