Making Strides Against Kidney Cancer

Join with the AACR to find better ways to prevent and treat kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer is among the most common cancers in the U.S., with nearly 64,000 new diagnoses and nearly 14,000 deaths in 2014, according to federal estimates.

Also known as renal cancer, kidney cancer is often treated with surgery to remove all or part of the affected organ. Some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to destroy unseen cancer cells that may remain following the procedure. For a few patients, most commonly those with advanced disease, treatment may include a molecularly targeted therapeutic or an immunotherapeutic. (more…)

Terminal Cancer Care Should Do More to Treat Depression

Depression could be clouding the last 24 hours of life for a significant number of people with advanced cancer, pointing to a need for better – and earlier – psychological help, according to a large study in The Netherlands.

Although it’s challenging to tease apart depression symptoms from the pain, fatigue and cognitive problems associated with end-stage cancer, more can be done to alleviate depression and anxiety, researchers said. (more…)

Congress Should Fix the ‘Doc Fix’ For Good

It’s almost time for spring cleaning. But what if I told you this annual drudgery was unnecessary?  I wish I could; we all wish there was a permanent fix to the clutter that inevitably accumulates over the course of the year.

But there’s another annual ritual – a Congressional vote on the so-called “Doc Fix” – that is unnecessary. Instead of putting taxpayers, Medicare patients, and doctors through the redundant rigmarole of a yearly vote to avoid automatic cuts, Congress should permanently fix Medicare’s fiscal problems and make the “Doc Fix” unnecessary forever more. (more…)

Ryan, Kline, And Upton Unveil More Specifics About Obamacare Supreme Court Contingency Plans

Yesterday, three key Republican senators on health care issues published an op-ed in which they outlined the broad principles of how they would address potential outcomes in the big Obamacare Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell. Today, three House Republican leaders—Paul Ryan (Wisc.), John Kline (Minn.), and Fred Upton (Mich.)—unveiled their own plan, with important new details. It’s a significant step forward. (more…)

‘Liquid Biopsies’ Could Revolutionize Cancer Detection

In the next year or two, doctors will begin routinely monitoring cancer using a potentially revolutionary technique that searches for a genetic signature in a blood sample, according to experts in the field.

The new method, known as a “liquid biopsy,” holds the promise of detecting the reappearance of cancer much earlier and more accurately than current methods. And in years to come, this method could also provide a better, less invasive way to diagnose disease than a tissue biopsy. (more…)

Graphene Shows Promise In Eradication Of Stem Cancer Cells

Graphene was made in a lab in 2003, but by 2014, it reportedly reached $9 million in sales predominately in electronics, battery energy and semiconductors. Graphene is 100 times stronger than steel by weight and efficiently conducts heat and electricity. It’s a new material that can store bits of small energy or make battery terminals more efficient.

Scientists at the University of Manchester, England decided to use graphene in a completely different way: to neutralize cancer stem cells (CSC) and not harm other cells. (more…)

How A Group Of Lung Cancer Survivors Got Doctors To Listen

A group of lung cancer survivors was chatting online last May about what they thought was a big problem: Influential treatment guidelines published by a consortium of prominent cancer centers didn’t reflect an option that several people thought had saved their lives. They wanted to change that.

The guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network are important because they’re often a first stop for an oncologist trying to develop a treatment plan after a patient’s diagnosis, Chris Newman, one of the patient group’s members, told Shots. But the guidelines don’t always reflect newer and less proven treatment options that may be offered only at big academic cancer centers, she said. Patients might miss out on treatments that could help them, if the guidelines aren’t up to date. (more…)

The Stigma of Lung Cancer

My mother has lung cancer. She never smoked.

I recall the moment I heard the news. I was at work, and I immediately left my office in tears and aimlessly wandered nearby neighborhoods, unable to make sense of this new reality or my own complex range of emotions. Once I began telling co-workers and friends, I began to see a trend as the typical response went something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Did she smoke?” This, undoubtedly, is an innocuous and rational question. We have heard about the perils of smoking for decades. However, it highlights the troubling reality that lung cancer carries a stigma. (more…)

Medicaid Acceptance by Healthcare Providers Drops to 1-out-of-3

Drop in Medicaid acceptance occurs as reimbursement rates decline for primary care physicians in many states

When HealthPocket first investigated Medicaid acceptance in 2013, it found that only 43% of the healthcare providers examined were formally listed as accepting Medicaid.1 Since the original 2013 study, Medicaid enrollment has continued to rise as the Affordable Care Act has led many states to increase the income eligibility range for the program.2 Medicaid, along with the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), currently covers approximately 1-in-5 people in the United States.3 This year, the temporary increase4 in Medicaid payments to primary care physicians discontinues with only 15 states indicating that they intend to maintain the payment increase (fully or partially).5 The reduction in Medicaid reimbursement to primary care physicians has brought with it a concern that Medicaid acceptance, already low among healthcare providers, will drop further. (more…)

Hospitals Mount Campaign Against Site-Neutral Medicare Payments

Hospital leaders are working to head off any momentum in Congress toward overhauling Medicare rates to pay hospitals the same for outpatient services as the program pays for the same services in physician offices.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has pushed site-neutral payment policies for years. The panel will make the same recommendation to lawmakers in its March report, and the change could mean a $1.44 billion annual drop in reimbursement if Congress adopts it. (more…)