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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...

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,...