December 2016 - Life Credit Company

New Method Can More Accurately Measure Radiation

Scientists in California recently unveiled a pioneering study designed to offer assistance for cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a new method to better assess the levels of radiation in a patient battling cancer — which can help health-care providers more accurately target the disease. Previously, patients would submit urine or fecal samples for radiation levels to be analyzed, or could also submit to biokinetic testing. Now, LLNL scientists have developed a blood test to do the same. The approach is known as biodosimetry and involves the comparison of the radiation dosage with selected strands of RNA found in the patient’s blood. “Our data indicate that transcripts, which have been previously identified as biomarkers of external exposures in whole blood and radiotherapy patients, also are good early indicators of internal exposure,” Matt Coleman of the University of California told MedicalXpress. Such information can help the medical team better understand how the radiotherapy is working, and how such therapies can be improved to better attack cancer cells and prevent recurrence. Scientists are now working on a second phase of the trial focused on pediatric neuroblastoma. Radiotherapy is one of the most common techniques used to provide assistance for cancer patients. It has been shown to be effective in eliminating cancer cells that have not metastasized, or spread, and it also is relied on after surgery and other methods to prevent cancer cells from re-forming. Life Credit CompanyWe are a licensed consumer lender that is dedicated to providing financial assistance for patients who are facing serious illness. With a Living Benefit Loan, from Life...

Tool Can Assess Stress of Financial Resources for Cancer Patients

Finances are a stress for most people. A health crisis like cancer is another highly worrisome experience. When the two are coupled, stress levels can skyrocket. A new study sought to investigate just how stressed cancer patients are, in an effort to develop new health and financial resources for cancer patients that could not only improve their bottom line, but also their health. What is financial toxicity? The Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity — appropriately nicknamed COST — surveyed 233 people being treated for advanced cancer. Researchers found that the more reliant patients were on care, the higher their rate of “financial toxicity.” The study defined financial toxicity as the “anxiety and distress” that stem from medical expenses and the decreased ability to work. Even just going from one hospital admission to two had a significant impact on the amount of financial strain patients experienced. Other factors that worsened stress were unemployment, lower household incomes and additional physiological distress. Researchers also found that financial toxicity was more common in African-Americans than Caucasians. Financial resources for cancer patients The authors of the study said it can be used in a number of ways. First, since such little data has been collected until now about the financial stress of a cancer diagnosis, the researchers advocated for continued research that is “patient-centered, scientifically derived and clinically relevant.” The study also shows the work that still needs to be done to provide financial resources for cancer patients. Lead author Dr. Jonas de Souza told Science Daily “we need to learn how to intervene” to relieve the financial stress that comes with a cancer...

Rehabilitation Can Provide Help for Cancer Patients

Rehabilitation is an expected aspect of surgeries like knee or hip replacement, as patients work to restore their bodies to full function. But what about patients recovering from cancer-related procedures? Nearly 90 percent of cancer patients who undergo some form of treatment are left with at least one physical impairment, according to OSF HealthCare. Rehabilitation can provide help for cancer patients, but only 60 percent of them seek such an approach — a number that may be on the rise as cancer rehabilitation gains in popularity. After common cancer treatments like chemotherapy, patients may experience memory problems, fatigue, tingling skin and more. Breast-cancer patients, in particular, are at risk for swelling in the arms after treatment or surgery, which can make just moving their arms a chore. That’s where rehabilitation comes in. Cancer rehab can include physical therapy, as well as occupational or speech therapy — whatever area a patient notices a deficit in, he or she can address the issue with rehabilitation. People can seek services at traditional rehabilitation centers or they may instead choose to take part in a program designed specifically to offer help for cancer patients and survivors. For instance, OSF’s Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation effort provides rehab tailored to people bouncing back from a cancer diagnosis: whether they are just starting treatment, recently in remission or still experiencing residual effects years later. In just the last year, OSF’s patient referrals to STAR have doubled. It is renaming the program OSF Cancer Rehabilitation Program in December. BroMenn Medical Center is another resource for cancer rehab — and it’s also seeing growing interest. Twice a month, the...