October 2016 - Life Credit Company

Blood Test Could Spot Disease, Offering Assistance for Cancer Patients

Early detection can be a key tool in cancer prevention. Seeing your physician regularly, keeping an eye out for any changes to your health and taking a proactive role in knowing your cancer risks can help to catch any problems in their early stages, upping the chance of beating the disease. Apart from what patients themselves can do to monitor their health, they can also make early detection a priority with a new blood test. Researchers at Swansea University have developed a simple test, performed with a quick prick of the finger, to identify red flags that could mean cancer is developing. The test has been likened to a “smoke detector” — it doesn’t show the fire, but rather the smoke, or the noticeable sign that there is a problem. In this case, the smoke is a mutation in the red blood cells, which often happens before cancer develops. Backers of the new test say they can now predict a cancer diagnosis up to 10 years before a patient even notices symptoms. The test has been used to detect early signs of esophageal cancer, and researchers are next setting their sites on pancreatic cancer. It’s expected to be on the market in about five years. Apart from its potentially life-saving nature, the test is also predicted to be a huge money-saver — both for the health-care industry and patients themselves. The earlier cancer is detected, the less likely the chance a patient would need to undergo costly chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Thinking ahead is a common-sense approach to both physical and financial health. If a diagnosis does happen, financial...

Technological Advancements Offer Resources for Cancer Patients

Technological advances are moving us forward every day — and are not only making our lives easier, but are even making us money. The financial benefits of modern technology are vast: From reduced printing costs to streamlined communication, the benefits of technology are felt both in the personal and professional realms. And now, even financial resources for cancer patients are available with the advent of technology. Technology in Motion Cancer patients and those looking to lower their risk of the disease can benefit from the time-saving nature of technology. For instance, a new approach to colon-cancer screening, called the PillCam Colon 2, provides all the benefits of a colonoscopy but without the frustrations. All patients have to do is swallow a small pill, which contains a scope that examines their gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities. Instead of having to take a full day off work for the procedure — which could mean losing wages and paying a babysitter — all patients have to do is meet with a doctor for a few minutes to get the scope set up and then go about their normal routines. Cutting corners time- and cost-wise, however, doesn’t mean health is compromised. Makers of PillCam Colon 2 advise that anyone who is seen to have an abnormality should receive a full colonoscopy within a day. On the breast cancer front, computer software is increasingly being relied upon to do the work of analyzing and assessing cancer risk. For example, Houston Methodist researchers have programmed a computer to interpret mammograms, with a 99-percent accuracy rate. For a study involving 500 patients, the software was able...

New Immunotherapy Provides Help for Cancer Patients

Cutting-edge cancer research is taking place across the world every day, and one recent study has produced some promising results. In a small research project conducted at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, scientists found high rates of remission in patients who underwent a unique chemotherapy program followed by an immune-based treatment. Though the research suggests a new way to provide help for cancer patients, particularly those facing blood cancers, it is not without its limitations. What the study says The study involved 32 patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, who had unsuccessfully tried other therapies. Each was given chemotherapy, of varying regimens, to attack and kill cancerous cells, before an immunotherapy called CAR-T was introduced. That approach involves the introduction of healthy T cells that have been genetically modified to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The researchers found the best results when patients were given a chemotherapy regimen that incorporated two drugs: 64 percent of those patients went into remission, while only 8 percent of the patients who received chemo with one drug achieved remission. Pros and cons Previous research has indicated the value of immunotherapy, but this study took that finding a bit further with its high remission rates. However, there are some drawbacks. Once the engineered T cells were re-introduced to patients, many had negative side effects. For instance, more than half experienced low blood pressure and inflammation, a few had to be admitted to the intensive care unit and others developed language problems. The study proved fatal for two of the patients, those who received the highest dose of the T cells. While help for cancer patients...