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Exercise is one of the most universal recommendations for reducing health risks. From diabetes to heart disease to joint problems, breaking a sweat has been shown to help protect people from an array of health conditions. It’s also being looked to by those who are on the mend from medical issues, particularly people who have conquered a cancer diagnosis. Benefits of exercise A new study is touting exercise as providing the greatest amount of help for cancer patients in their recovery process. The Canadian-based research focused on female survivors of breast cancer, examining the impact of a range of lifestyle factors on the patients’ risk for recurrence or death. Women were able to significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer returning, and of a recurrence being fatal, by incorporating workouts into their routines. Those who had at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, or 75 minutes of intense activity per week, showed the best results. While exercise can offer help for cancer patients looking to stay on the right track, getting active after major surgery or treatments like chemotherapy can be both a physical and emotional challenge. Researchers suggested health-care providers can be particularly influential in explaining the benefits of exercise to their patients and working with them to develop routines that fit into their daily lives. Other helpful choices Weight management often goes hand in hand with exercise, and the researchers not surprisingly found that as well in this study. The report indicates that weight gain of at least 10 percent after a breast cancer diagnosis enhances both recurrence and mortality rates. Obese... read more
Getting a successful outcome from a cancer-research study is just one step of a very long process. Key in that journey to providing assistance for cancer patients is replication — that the research can be conducted again, with the same results. If replication fails, does that mean success is out of reach? That’s a question researchers are trying to answer. The issue was recently tackled by the Center for Open Science. After seeing a trend of cancer research not being able to be replicated, COS undertook its own study. So far, researchers completed five of 50 replication attempts, and found three of the studies showed markedly different results from the originals. Of those, two had already progressed to the point where scientists were testing the experiments on people, instead of lab animals, a multi-million-dollar undertaking. So where did things go wrong? That’s still up for debate. According to analysis by NPR, there are a number of possible explanations: Biological variations among lab animals involved Laboratory techniques may be slightly different The definition of “replication” isn’t clearly or universally defined While there’s no firm answer yet on what could be causing the studies to lack agreement, what is clear is that more research is needed to ensure that studies aiming to provide assistance for cancer patients are making the most of researchers’ resources. “I think it’s too early for us to know whether this approach is the right approach or the best approach for testing the reproducibility of cancer biology,” University of Texas researcher Sean Morrison told NPR about the replication study. “But it will be a data point, and... read more
Cancer is costly. That’s an unfortunate reality in America, but it’s one that health-care professionals are more readily recognizing. In a recent survey by the Association of Community Cancer Centers, 83 percent of providers cited rising drug costs as the greatest challenge in their cancer programs. While that number is staggering, it’s even more impactful when taken in context; last year, only 45 percent of providers named drug prices as the biggest obstacle. While patients are increasingly struggling with rising drug prices, providers are also being hit with financial hardships stemming from skyrocketing costs. More than 65 percent of survey respondents reported that they’re not being adequately reimbursed by insurance companies for their support services — everything from patient navigation to providing financial resources for cancer patients. Providers are responding to these trends in a few ways. About 64 percent of those surveyed advocated for insurance programs to be more transparent with their clients, so patients aren’t blindsided by unexpected costs. To that front, ACCs Financial Advocacy Network is working to heighten education about financial resources for cancer patients through such initiatives as its new Patient Assistance App. The program puts the power into the hands of patients, letting them research their options to make more informed financial decisions. According to the survey, physicians are also taking a more hands-on role in that process: More than 75 percent of respondents actively inform their patients about drug-replacement programs, and over 60 percent supply financial advisors. As the survey demonstrated, the cost of cancer care is an obstacle for patients’ financial and physical health, as well as the success of cancer... read more
The focus after a cancer diagnosis is often on improving a patient’s physical health. While remission should be the number-one priority for cancer patients, achieving that physical goal can’t overshadow the need for adequate mental care as well. A new resource guide from the American Cancer Society and National Institute of Mental Health emphasizes that mental-health awareness can provide help for cancer patients on their road to complete healing. Cancer patients may be at risk for depression for a number of reasons: Diagnosis and subsequent treatment has limited the ability to engage in previous routines and activities Physical changes impact self-confidence and esteem Uncertainty about the future can create fear and anxiety The guide suggests a number of nontherapeutic and therapeutic exercises that make mental-health help for cancer patients a reality. Nontherapeutic tools: Exercise appropriate to one’s physical capabilities A diet tailored to the patient’s needs by a nutritionist A strong network of family, friends and others who can provide support and help for cancer patients adjusting to the changes caused by diagnosis Therapeutic tools: Anti-depressant medications prescribed by a patient’s doctor Collaborative therapy like support groups One-on-one therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker Cognitive-behavioral therapy to teach a patient how to manage emotions and responses Physical health may be at the center of a cancer patient’s vision, but incorporating strategies for improved mental health can make that goal a bit clearer. Learn how we can help lower stress financially. 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,... read more
It’s surprising to think that the basis for a pioneering cancer treatment lies at the bottom of the ocean but a new breakthrough to provide assistance for cancer patients suggests just that. When it comes to prostate cancer, the course of treatment is often much different than with other types of cancer. If doctors determine cancerous cells in the prostate are at high risk for spreading, they often will operate to remove the entire prostate gland; though it may be effective, it’s an operation that leaves the patient at risk for complications like impotence or incontinence. Otherwise, if doctors think the cancer is not likely to spread, patients are placed under surveillance. They’ll be monitored frequently to make sure the cancer hasn’t grown or changed, and, even though it may not, the process can be a mentally taxing one. Now, scientists are also considering another option. Researchers at University College London have developed a drug made from bacteria found on the ocean floor. Such bacteria converts light into energy which, in this case, is used to attack cancer cells. The drug is injected directly into the bloodstream and then activated with a laser directed at the prostate. Of 400 men enrolled in the study, the cancer progressed in 58 percent of those under surveillance, compared with 28 percent of men who underwent the new therapy. Scientists suggested that the therapy may offer the most assistance for cancer patients who are in the mid-level range of risk. Though the treatment still has a long way to go before it gets full approval, these are promising results that could revamp the... read more
Cancer care can be a physical, emotional and mental burden — and a financial one. The cost of cancer depends on many factors, including: the type of cancer the stage at which it is identified the course of treatment the patient’s insurance Financial resources for cancer patients certainly exist, but vary depending on these and other aspects. For instance, colorectal cancer is often treated with oral chemotherapy and, if needed, radiation therapy. Oral drugs often come with steep copays and are used longer than other treatments, meaning the patient has to be making payments for a longer period of time. A treatment of oral chemo can cost a patient about $10,000, a number that continues to grow annually; a few decades ago, such a treatment typically only cost patients a few hundred dollars. Also on the rise is medication costs. As more effective drugs hit the market, patients often are on pill regimens longer — meaning more financial burden — and the drug prices jump to cover the cost of the research. It’s essential that individuals looking for financial resources for cancer patients understand all of the factors at play before deciding on a financial course of action. Whether it’s speaking to financial consultants at your cancer-care center or taking advantage of programs like Life Credit’s living benefit loan, there are ways to cut the costs and concentrate on surviving and thriving. 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 Credit Company, you can receive up to 50%... read more