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What cancer patients want and what Medicare covers may differ
Reuters
When asked what Medicare should cover for cancer patients in their last months of life, many patients and their caregivers choose benefits the federal insurance does not offer, like home-based, long term care and concurrent palliative care, according to a new study based on interviews. Given an array of options, a limited budget, and a chance to discuss the choices, patients and caregivers were not very likely to devote all coverage to curative cancer treatment, said lead author Donald H. Taylor Jr., of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
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Seven threats to cancer care
Medscape (login required)
In March, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released a report, "The State of Cancer Care in America: 2014," that served as a clarion call for the oncology community. Citing a rising demand for oncologists' services, an aging workforce, and high levels of burnout among oncologists, the report predicted that there would be a shortage of more than 1,400 oncologists by 2025. The report also highlighted the high cost of cancer drugs and downward pressure on Medicare reimbursement levels, issues that were also included in a 2013 report by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).
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Training dogs to sniff out cancer
The New York Times
McBaine, a bouncy black and white springer spaniel, perks up and begins his hunt at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. His nose skims 12 tiny arms that protrude from the edges of a table-size wheel, each holding samples of blood plasma, only one of which is spiked with a drop of cancerous tissue. The dog makes one focused revolution around the wheel before halting, steely-eyed and confident, in front of sample No. 11. A trainer tosses him his reward, a tennis ball, which he giddily chases around the room, sliding across the floor and bumping into walls like a clumsy puppy.
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Recent findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology support the Commission on Cancer's quality measure on use of needle biopsy to diagnose breast cancer
Commission on Cancer
There is a growing movement in oncology to measure quality of cancer care with the ultimate goal of increasing accountability and improving outcomes. As outlined in a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, fundamental to this movement is the need to elucidate the role that physicians play in promoting or impeding quality. Yet even in breast cancer, one of the most commonly studied malignancies, the absence of national databases has been a key barrier preventing assessment of physician quality.
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Signed physicians' letters can improve mammogram return rates
HealthDay News via Oncology Nurse Advisor
A personalized letter from a family physician may help improve return rates for screening mammography, according to research scheduled to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Sept. 4 to 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Elisa K. Chan, MD, of Saint John Regional Hospital in Canada, and colleagues identified 5,385 women, aged 52 to 74 years, from the Screening Mammography Program, who had received a normal result on a prior mammogram and were overdue for return screening. They randomly assigned the women to receive either a standard postcard reminder (2,689 participants) or a postcard reminder plus a personalized reminder letter from their family physician (2,696 participants).
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    Robotic surgery for prostate cancer is widespread in the United States
    Oncology Nurse Advisor
    A new study reveals widespread adoption in the United States of robot-assisted prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer in recent years. The study also found that while such surgeries are more expensive than traditional surgeries, their costs are decreasing over time. In 2001, surgeons began using robotic technologies in procedures to remove the prostate. To examine trends in the use of robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) procedures for prostate cancer patients, Steven Chang, MD, MS, of Harvard Medical School, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, Mass., led a team that analyzed 489,369 men who underwent non-RARP (in other words, open or laparoscopic radical prostatectomy) or RARP in the United States between 2003 and 2010.
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    Penn surgeons make cancer glow green
    Penn Current
    The key to a successful cancer surgery is to extract every last bit of the tumor. If any cancerous cells are left behind, they could cause the disease to reappear in the same place or close by later on. Imagine how useful it would be if the malignant tissue glowed bright green, practically shouting, “Cut me out, I’m dangerous!” Turns out, it can. Penn scientists demonstrated that by using an injectable dye that preferentially accumulates in cancerous tissues, they could make lung tumors glow green under an infrared light.
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    Some cancer experts see 'overdiagnosis' question emphasis on early detection
    The Wall Street Journal
    Early detection has long been seen as a powerful weapon in the battle against cancer. But some experts now see it as a double-edged sword. While it's clear that early-stage cancers are more treatable than late-stage ones, some leading cancer experts say that zealous screening and advanced diagnostic tools are finding ever-smaller abnormalities in prostate, breast, thyroid, and other tissues. Many are being labeled cancer or precancer and treated aggressively, even though they may never have caused harm.
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    2014 Commission on Cancer Annual Update notification
    Commission on Cancer
    All Commission on Cancer (CoC)-accredited programs scheduled for survey during 2015-2016 should note that the Program Activity Record (PAR) Annual Update period will run from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2014. In order to maintain your CoC accreditation, your program must complete this activity within the specified timeframe. No extensions will be granted. Questions about the PAR or Annual Update should be e-mailed to SAR@facs.org. Questions regarding your CoC Datalinks user ID and password should be e-mailed to CoCdatalinks@facs.org.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Recent findings published in Journal of Clinical Oncology support the Commission on Cancer's quality measure on use of needle biopsy to diagnose breast cancer (Commission on Cancer)
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    New NAPBC education program announced
    NAPBC
    The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, will be holding Pursing Excellence through NAPBC Accreditation in Washington, DC, on Nov. 14. Watch your e-mail for additional information or send an e-mail to NAPBC@facs.org.
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    Does the state of man's pate reveal his cancer risk?
    USA Today
    Men have lots of reasons to feel bad about losing their hair. Some worry that going bald makes them look old. Others fear that a bare head won't attract the ladies. Now, a new study suggests that men with certain types of baldness in middle age are at higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer. However, experts say there's no reason for balding men to add cancer to their list of worries — at least not yet.
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    Two experts discuss mammography issues on The Recovery Room Show
    NAPBC
    The Recovery Room Show recently launched a new episode discussing the benefits and controversies surrounding mammographic screening. In the episode, host Frederick L. Greene, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist from Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the Commission on Cancer since 2000, talks with two leading experts in the field. The show includes a discussion on common concerns with mammography, the role of insurance companies, MRIs, and a high-profile recent Canadian study that cast doubt on the abilities of the screening tool.
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    The CoC Brief

    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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    Samantha Emerson, Content Editor, 469.420.2669
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    Disclaimer: The CoC Brief is a digest of the most important news selected for the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The Commission on Cancer does not endorse any of the advertised products and services. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and not of the American College of Surgeons and the Commission on Cancer.


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