Author Archives: Kate Murphy

Treatment Costs Extra Hard for Young Colon Cancer Patients

Although nearly four out of ten stage III colon cancer patients had serious financial problems during treatment, treatment related expenses were particularly hard on patients under fifty.  After taking all factors into account, young patients were more than fifty times times more likely to experience financial hardship than patients over 75.  Treatment costs drove them to: be in debt have to borrow money from family or friends sell or refinance their homes experience a more than 20 percent drop in income Financial difficulties sometimes led to stopping treatment early despite the fact that nearly all patients had insurance. 5.4 percent skipped treatments and 7.2 percent refused treatment altogether because of

Cutting Out Polyps Cuts Colorectal Cancer Deaths in Half

We thought it was true . . . and now research comes along with evidence. Colonoscopy reduces death from colorectal cancer. In a follow-up analysis from the National Polyp Study, people who had adenomas — the risky kind of polyps — removed during the study were much less likely to die from colon or rectal cancer than  the general US population.  In fact, removing adenomas cut the death rate from colorectal cancer in half. We knew that colonoscopies find and remove precancerous polyps and reduce the number of new colorectal cancers, but this is the first study to actually link colonoscopy to cutting back death from colorectal cancer. There was

Judge Individual Risk Before Making CRC Screening Decisions

New guidance from the American College of Physicians advises doctors to evaluate each patient’s individual risk and base colorectal cancer screening on that assessment. The four point guidance statement says: Clinicians should perform an individual colorectal cancer risk assessment for all adults. Average risk adults should be screened at age 50. Individuals at high risk should begin screening at age 40 or 10 years before the youngest relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Average risk individuals should be screened with a stool-based test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or optical colonoscopy. Colonoscopy should be used to screen patients who are at high risk. Clinicians should stop screening for patients over 75 or adults

New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne Dies of Colon Cancer

Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) died early this morning from colon cancer. Representative Payne announced last month that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer but expected to make a full recovery. However, last week he took a sudden turn for the worse and was flown home to New Jersey where he was placed in hospice care at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. He was 77. The first black member of Congress from New Jersey, Representative Payne served the 10th Congressional District for 23 years. He was planning to run for a twelfth term this year, vowing to run again only last month. A strong champion for human rights in

Advice from Ms Butt Meddler — Start at 45

Ms. Butt Meddler, the singing and dancing gastroenterologist, tells African Americans to Start at 45. African Americans have a high rate of new colorectal cancers and they are diagnosed earlier in life. And their death rate is higher than the rest of the US population. The American College of Gastroenterology guidelines call for them to be screened beginning when they are 45. Patricia Raymond MD, AKA Ms. Butt Meddler, sings and dances and recommends that blacks start screening at 45, rather than 50. Dr. Raymond is a board-certified gastroenterologist who “. . .takes medicine seriously and herself lightly.”  She tells people who are afraid of colonoscopy to Laugh Their Fears

Virtual Colonoscopy Works for Older Folks Too

 Time to catch up on some colorectal cancer news that we might have missed. In Nutshell News: Virtual colonoscopy works just as well for over 65′s, over-the-counter and prescription stomach acid is connected to c. difficile diarrhea, and the recession cut into colorectal cancer screening among people with health insurance.

Does Colorectal Cancer Run in Your Family?

The short answer is probably not. Most colorectal cancer develops as we age without any notable family history. But about one in five people with colorectal cancer will have a close family link. Getting to know that risk is important. It may mean earlier or more frequent screening. It definitely means talking to your family, learning about Aunt Mary’s uterine cancer, Dad’s polyps, or Grandmother’s stomach problems when she was 35. It means telling them about your own cancer or polyps. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable has a new website to help you search and share your family history with Family PLZ.

It's Finally Here! Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Time to splash Blue all over! Today is the first day of March and the first day of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. March is full of Blue Awareness, nationally and locally. Spread the message that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable. Don’t hide your story! Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your coworkers. Get them screened, teach them the symptoms. Get them involved.

Congress Will Welcome CRC Advocates with Blue on March 7

Four members of Congress want their colleagues to wear blue on March 7 to welcome Fight Colorectal Cancer advocates who will be on Capitol Hill that day. In a Dear Colleagues letter, Charles Dent, Betty McCollum, Michael G. Fitzpatrick, and James P. McGovern asked other members to GO BLUE on March 7 to show their support for the advocates and draw national attention to colorectal cancer. Their letter emphasized the importance of screening for prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer — the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States. They said that if everyone age 50 and over were screened for colorectal

Fake Drugs are a Global Problem

The counterfeit drug trade has reached global proportions, and solving the problem needs a global approach. So says an editorial in this week’s The Lancet. While the Avastin announcement last week raised lots of concern and media attention, the issue of counterfeit drugs isn’t new. In 2009, the European Union seized 34 million fake pills in just two months, including antibiotics, cancer drugs, and sildenafil (Viagra). Counterfeit medicines are a problem for both low and high income countries and can seriously hurt patients. In January the FDA warned healthcare providers not to buy injectable cancer medications from “direct-to-clinic” promotions or non-verified sources. Such drugs, says the FDA, put patients at

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