August 2017 - Life Credit Company

Treatment Could Help Skin Cancer Patients

More than 3-million Americans are diagnosed every year with non-melanoma skin cancer. While the numbers are staggering, the survival rate for most skin cancers is high, with new therapies emerging to help patients overcome cancer with minimal, lasting impact. One such treatment is Superficial Radiotherapy, which, as its name suggests, provides skin-deep treatment that attacks non-melanoma cancer cells. The procedure is quick, virtually painless and often affordable, allowing money for cancer patients’ care to stay in their own pockets instead of going to hefty hospital bills. But, SRT may not be right for everyone. What is SRT? SRT is most often used to treat basal and squamous cell cancers, which are not forms of melanoma, a more serious type of skin cancer. SRT uses low doses of radiation to kill the cancer cells. The treatment takes only about 30 seconds, and is delivered once or twice a week for several weeks. Pros of SRT SRT can be performed in a doctor’s office, eliminating the need for a hospital visit. The treatment lessens the risk of scarring that’s often associated with the Mohs procedure, in which skin is removed layer by layer. There are relatively few side effects associated with SRT, except for some mild redness and irritation. SRT is typically a low-cost alternative to other treatments. The treatment is especially beneficial for people who face risks with surgery or who shouldn’t undergo anesthesia. Cons of SRT SRT is not as thorough as Mohs, which is still considered the front-line defense against non-melanoma skin cancer. The doses of radiation associated with SRT could increase the risk of recurrence of skin...

Minorities Less Likely to Get Genetic Testing

It is an accepted truth that the availability of and access to affordable health care can have a significant impact on cancer patients’ care and health outcomes. Unfortunately, that means that many Americans are falling through the cracks. Minority communities statistically live in lower socioeconomic conditions, with less access to health care than white communities. High co-pays, medication costs and prohibitive hospital bills can discourage cancer patients from receiving the best care possible. While cancer financial assistance programs exist to help cancer patients navigate the financial burdens of cancer, the disproportionate impact of cancer on financially disadvantaged communities continues to be a serious challenge. A new study from the Yale University Cancer Center found that black and Hispanic women with breast cancer were less likely than white women to undergo a genetic test that can help doctors create an action plan. The report focused on Oncotype Dx, which helps doctors understand the genetic impact of early-stage breast cancer, information that can determine whether chemotherapy or other approaches would be most effective. The test can also suggest if the patient is at a high risk for recurrence once the cancer cells are eliminated. In a study of 8,000 Connecticut women, more than 51 percent of white women who would be good candidates for the test received it, compared to just 47 percent of Hispanic women and 44 percent of black women. The disparity was also present for women who didn’t fall within the guidelines for the test but received it anyway — 21 percent of white women, and just 9 percent of black and Hispanic women. While the test itself...

Certain Cancers Can Crave Sugar

Just as some humans have more of a sweet tooth than others, it turns out some types of cancer cells may crave sugar more strongly than others. The connection between sugar intake and cancer has long been the focus of research aimed at providing help for cancer patients and those at risk — and a new study shows just why it should be. According to a report featured in Nature Communications, the sugary appeal of sweets may be putting people at increased risk for cancer growth and recurrence. Researchers at University of Texas at Dallas sought to investigate if there are any differences in sugar dependence among two types of lung cancer: adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC). During their work, the scientists discovered that a protein involved with sugar transport was present at much higher levels in SqCC than ADC. That elevated level increases the cells’ “appetite” for sugar, the researchers found, and fuels cell growth. The scientists also found high dependence on sugar in other types of squamous cell cancers, including esophageal, cervical, head and neck. So how can this information provide help for cancer patients? First, the data has prompted researchers to consider new therapies, including one that would inhibit levels of the protein that carries glucose. In initial tests with such an inhibitor, researchers found slowed — though not completely halted — growth of SqCC. Scientists are now in the midst of organizing a large animal study on lung cancer using a sugar-restricted diet. Depending on those outcomes, scientists could use the data to develop new recommendations — which can offer dietary help for...