The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proposed an evaluation of its federally funded Colorectal Cancer Control Program to determine whether the program does what is it supposed to do: Increase state-level colorectal cancer screening rates and other related outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »
With 12 million people in the U.S. living with and beyond cancer, health and psychosocial issues facing survivors are finally becoming active topics of research and discussion.
The Oct. 20th Journal of Clinical Oncology is a special “survivorship” issue featuring an array of special articles primarily focusing on the health issues such as bone health, symptoms like chemobrain, lifestyle factors such as physical activity to help prevent recurrence. Articles also focus on fertility preservation, and sexuality issues in cancer survivors.
“It has become clear that sexual function is often profoundly disrupted by cancer treatment,” wrote the authors of a review article “Sexuality in Adult Cancer Survivors.” Read the rest of this entry »
A study published in the October 2012 Annals of Oncology compared levels of CTCs with levels of CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) to see how the two tests compared or could be used together to predict survival times in metastatis CRC.
Results in 217 patients with metastatic CRC showed that at the beginning of treatment, CTC numbers alone–not CEA levels–could accurately predict length of survival. But when patients had a high initial level of CEA levels, adding the CTC number helped predict which patients would survive longer. At the 6-12 week mark, each test alone could accurately predict prognosis.
The study’s second author and member of FCRC’s Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Neal Meropol, noted that, in clinical practice, he tends to rely more on CT scans and MRIs for metastatic CRC treatment decisions, but that CTCs seem to be a good indicator for overall prognosis. Read the rest of this entry »
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center made a very public announcement—and explanation—today in a New York Times op-ed about why they will not offer the new drug Zaltrap® (ziv-aflibercept) to its metastatic colorectal cancer patients.
The authors, all world-renowned cancer specialists at the world’s oldest cancer center, in an op-ed headlined “In Cancer Care, Cost Matters,” essentially challenged other cancer centers to take action where politicians fear to tread.
“We recently made a decision that should have been a no-brainer,” wrote Drs. Peter B. Bach, Leonard B. Saltz and Robert E. Wittes. “The drug, Zaltrap, has proved to be no better than a similar medicine we already have for advanced colorectal cancer, while its price—at $11,063 on average for a month of treatment—is more than twice as high.” Read the rest of this entry »
What happens when patients get to read their own medical records? The Oct. 2nd Annals of Internal Medicine published two editorials and results of a quasi-experimental trial of 100 primary care doctors who voluntarily provided 13,500 patient volunteers with access to their doctors’ notes for a year. To read details, read further, but some results in brief :
- patients loved being able to read their visit report, and 75% said they were more likely to take medicines as directed;
- doctors didn’t see increased patient anxiety, visits, or time demands.
Meanwhile, an expert panel of “thought leaders” gathered by the Institute of Medicine released an in-depth report about helping patients make better care decisions by giving them the best available medical evidence. The results, summarized in an online JAMA article and discussed by Dr. Robert Miller for ASCO Connections, included:
- 8 in 10 patients want their provider to listen, but only 6 in 10 say it happens;
- 8 in 10 want to hear the full truth about their diagnosis;
- fewer than half of patients say their provider asks about their goals and concerns. Read the rest of this entry »