Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Roger Ebert's Journal: Health Care Reform

A great essay from someone with personal knowledge of making "end of life" care decsions...

"Death panels" is such an excellent term. You know exactly what it means, and therefore you know you're against them. Debate over. This term more than anything else seems to have unified the opposition to the Obama health care proposals. It fuels the anger that has essentially shut down "town hall" meetings intended for the discussion of the issues.

Of course the term is inspired by a lie. There are no conceivable plans to form "death panels" or anything like them. The Obama plan, which has some bipartisan support, doesn't seek or desire to get involved in any decisions about who should live and who should die. But now we hear "death panel" repeated so often that the term has taken on a sort of eerie reality, as if it really referred to anything.

Roger Ebert's Journal: Archives

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Army of Women: Call To Action For Young African American Breast Cancer Survivors

The latest bulletin from Dr. Susan Love/Avon Army of Women:

When a young woman is facing a breast cancer diagnosis, how the cancer treatments she needs may affect her fertility—and what might be done to help safeguard her ability to have a baby—all too often is not discussed.

By interviewing younger women who have had breast cancer and the physicians who treat them, the researchers conducting this study hope to learn more about the concerns of young women diagnosed with breast cancer in regards to their ability to have children and how they make treatment decisions.

To be sure the findings apply to all women, the researcher included women of all races and ethnicities. The researcher still needs to hear from more young African-American women who have had breast cancer.

If you think you might fit this study, please read on. And, as always, please pass this study on to anyone you think might be interested!

What’s the study about?
This study is exploring how younger women (18- 40 years old) and their doctors discuss cancer treatments and fertility, how newly diagnosed women make treatment choices (including fertility conserving treatment options), and how fertility issues impact these women’s lives after cancer. The study is also examining how having a breast cancer diagnosis influences a woman’s life after cancer, including her future family plans and family relationships. The researchers need 15 African-American women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 3 years.

What’s involved?

If you join this study you will be asked to participate in a phone interview and be asked questions related to your breast cancer diagnosis, treatment decisions, and family planning. The phone interview will last approximately 60 minutes.

Who is conducting the study?

Karrie Snyder, PhD, at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
(IRB Approval STU00012672)


Anywhere in the United States
Who can participate?
You can join the study if you match ALL of these main categories:

•You are an African-American woman

•You were diagnosed with breast cancer within the last three years

•You were between the ages of 18 – 40 when you were diagnosed with breast cancer

•You live in the United States

More information

Dr. Dean Encourages Pres. Obama to Stand By Public Option

Dr. Dean is a great leader and expert voice in the health care reform debate. Northern Ohio Breast Cancer Coalition Fund supports HR 3200, the House health care reform bill, because it most closely matches a quality framework for health care reform and provides the best mechanism to ensure competition among insurance providers to keep costs down. HR 3200 includes provisions to allow uninsured Americans to choose a government managed public health insurance plan if they wish.

"Dean urged the Obama administration to stand by statements made early on in the debate in which it steadfastly insisted that such a public option was indispensable to genuine change, saying that Medicare and the Veterans Administration are "two very good programs that have been around for a long time."

"On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Dean said he believes the public option might be added to the legislation during the Senate's budget reconciliation process between the two chambers, when it would need only 51 votes to pass, instead of the 60 usually required for contentious bills. "

"You can't really do health reform without it," he said. Dean maintained that the health insurance industry has "put enormous pressure on patients and doctors" in recent years.

"He called a direct government role "the entirety of health care reform. It isn't the entirety of insurance reform ... We shouldn't spend $60 billion a year subsidizing the insurance industry."

Read more

Penn Medicine News: Lifting Weights Reduces Lymphedema Symptoms Following Breast Cancer Surgery

Personally, I've always found a moderate routine of lifting hand weights has helped control my lymphedema. Consult w/ your doctor for instructions as its important to lift in a way that doesn't pull on the affected arm.

“Our study challenges the historical medical recommendations for women who get lymphedema after breast cancer, and is another example of well-meaning medical advice turning out to be misguided,” says lead author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. “For instance, we used to tell those who had back pain to rest, but we know now that in many cases, inactivity can actually make a bad back worse. Too many women have missed out on the health and fitness benefits that weight lifting provides, including building bone density. Our study shows that breast cancer survivors can safely participate in slowly progressive weight lifting and gain those benefits without any increase in their lymphedema symptoms. In fact, this type of exercise may actually help them feel better.”

Penn Medicine News: Lifting Weights Reduces Lymphedema Symptoms Following Breast Cancer Surgery

Cancer Mortality Rates Experience Steady Decline: Conventional Method May Underreport Declining Death Rate For All Age Groups

Researchers are examining whether use of composite age-adjusted rates to measure cancer mortality may not accurately reflect improved survival rates in younger cancer patients. Because most people who get cancer are older, adjusting mortality rates to reflect older aged individuals may skew results.

"As an alternative to age-adjustment, Kort examined cancer mortality rates stratified by age and found that for individuals born since 1925, every age group has experienced a decline in cancer mortality. The youngest age groups have experienced the steepest decline at 25.9 percent per decade, but even the oldest groups have experienced a 6.8 percent per decade decline."

Cancer Mortality Rates Experience Steady Decline: Conventional Method May Underreport Declining Death Rate For All Age Groups

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