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Skin Cancer Treatment More of a Financial Burden

Tanning beds are costing Americans much more than the sticker price. Artificial tanning has long been linked to increased risk for skin cancer. A new study, however, found that those stats don’t seem to be deterring people from flocking to tanning salons. So, what will slow that trend? Researchers at the University of North Carolina explored the economic impact of skin cancer that could have developed from artificial tanning, with some staggering results. What are the numbers? Researchers looked at the lifestyles of Americans diagnosed with skin cancer in 2015 to determine how prevalent “fake tanning” was. They ultimately suggested that there were as many as 263,000 cases of skin cancer in 2015 that could have been caused by artificial tanning. More specifically, there were 168,000 cases of basal cell carcinomas, 86,6000 cases of squamous cell carcinomas and 9,000 incidents of melanoma, all of which could be attributed to tanning devices. From there, they determined it would cost more than $343 million to treat skin cancer patients who contracted the disease after using tanning devices. Even more alarming is the total economic impact of tanning-related cancer on patients over their lifetimes: a loss of $127.3 billion. The steep statistics highlight the need for skin cancer financial assistance, to help patients after a diagnosis, but also the work that lays ahead to discourage Americans from stepping into a tanning device to begin with. What’s next? According to the study, a whopping 30-million Americans use artificial tanning devices every year — and that’s despite very popular knowledge that such practices have been linked to skin cancer. The federal government recently tightened...

How to Avoid the Financial Issues of Cancer Treatment

Once the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis has worn off, patients and their families will likely have one thing in sight: beating the disease. Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, the day when the patient is cancer-free, is an important motivator that can strengthen and empower patients to reach the finish line. But the finish line won’t be without its challenges. Many cancer survivors are left with significant financial hardships related to their disease and treatment. The financial landscape Treatment costs likely inflict the greatest financial burden after a diagnosis. From chemo and pill regimens to hospital stays and co-pays, the bills can add up, and quickly. But it’s not all medical costs, as a number of less-expected bills may also crop up. The loss of wages from time off or medical leave can hit the wallet hard. A change in lifestyle can also mean a change in finances. For instance, a patient may need to hire someone to help out around the house, watch their kids or even walk the dog, all of which come with a price tag. How to be prepared The financial landscape for cancer patients is a daunting one, but the good news is that there is financial help for cancer patients. Preparation is key to being able to overcome financial hurdles. Patients should work closely with financial counselors and advisors, which are offered at many care centers. They can be a fountain of resources and knowledgeable advice. Such representatives are a good source for information about financial-assistance programs at pharmaceutical companies. It’s important to get such requests in...

What Does it Mean for Cancer Research When Results Can’t Be Reproduced?

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...

Financial Resources for Cancer Patients Among Top Issues

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...

Therapy, Lifestyle Tools Can Provide Help for Cancer Patients with Depression

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,...

Laser Could Provide Assistance for Cancer Patients

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...