December 1, 2022

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Jeni Rae Peters and daughter embrace at their home in Rapid City, S.D. In 2020, Peters was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After treatment, Peters estimates that her medical bills exceeded $30,000.

Dawnee LeBeau for NPR


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Dawnee LeBeau for NPR


Jeni Rae Peters and daughter embrace at their home in Rapid City, S.D. In 2020, Peters was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After treatment, Peters estimates that her medical bills exceeded $30,000.

Dawnee LeBeau for NPR

RAPID CITY, S.D. ― Jeni Rae Peters would make promises to herself as she lay awake nights after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“My kids had lost so much,” said Peters, a single mom and mental health counselor. She had just adopted two girls and was fostering four other children. “I swore I wouldn’t force them to have yet another parent.”

Multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy controlled the cancer. But, despite having insurance, Peters was left with more than $30,000 of debt, threats from bill collectors, and more anxious nights thinking of her kids.

“Do I pull them out of day care? Do I stop their schooling and tutoring? Do I not help them with college?” Peters asked herself. “My doctor saved my life, but my medical bills are stealing from my children’s lives.”

Cancer kills about 600,000 people in the U.S. every year, making it a leading cause of death. Many more survive it, because of breakthroughs in medicines and therapies.

But the high costs of modern-day care have left millions with a devastating financial burden. That’s forced patients and their families to make gut-wrenching sacrifices even as they confront a grave illness, according to a KHN-NPR investigation of America’s sprawling medical debt problem. The project shows few suffer more than those with cancer.

About two-thirds of adults with health care debt who’ve had cancer themselves or in their family have cut spending on food, clothing, or other household basics, a poll conducted by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) for this project found. About 1 in 4 have declared bankruptcy or lost their home to eviction or foreclosure.

Other research shows that patients from minority communities are more likely to experience financial hardships caused by cancer than white patients, reinforcing racial disparities that shadow the U.S. health care system.

“It’s crippling,” said Dr. Veena Shankaran, a University of Washington oncologist who began studying the financial impact of cancer after seeing patients ruined by medical bills. “Even if someone survives the cancer, they often can’t shake the debt.”

Shankaran found that cancer patients were 71% more likely than Americans without the disease to have bills in collections, face tax liens and mortgage foreclosure, or experience other financial setbacks. Analyzing bankruptcy records and cancer registries in Washington state, Shankaran and other researchers also discovered that cancer patients were 2½ times more likely to declare bankruptcy than those without the disease.

And cancer patients who went bankrupt were more likely to die than those who did not.

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New York resident Lynn Scarfuto, 72, used a number of a long time operating as a nurse navigator, assisting people by their cancer ordeals just before she turned a most cancers affected person herself.

Scarfuto was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and about 6-decades later on was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The money burden that arrives with dealing with her diseases has not been effortless. Imbruvica, a most cancers medicine approved by her physician, carries a wholesale selling price of about $16,000 a thirty day period. Scarfuto is on Medicare but does not qualify for a minimal-profits subsidy. Her out-of-pocket value for the drug that would maintain her most cancers from progressing arrives to $12,000 a 12 months. 

“How the hell are you meant to dwell?” stated Scarfuto, who now depends on her retirement cost savings. “I don’t have that kind of funds.”

Scarfuto’s battle to address her daily life-threatening health issues just isn’t unconventional in the U.S., wherever prescription drug prices are usually significantly increased than in other produced nations.

About 1 in three People in america on Medicare who do not qualify for reduced-income subsidies really don’t fill prescriptions for their most cancers prescription drugs, according to a modern analyze in the journal Overall health Affairs. Minimal revenue is described as all over $15,000 a yr for an personal or about $30,000 a year for a married couple, in accordance to the Social Protection Administration.

The out-of-pocket cost for the medication is also higher, claimed Stacie Dusetzina, the study’s direct author and a wellness coverage professor at Vanderbilt College Health care Heart. In some scenarios, clients would require to shell out practically half their gross money to be equipped to afford to pay for their drugs, she claimed.

The value is “unbelievable,” she mentioned. “Nevermind the lots of doctors’ visits and other treatment options that clients probably will need at the same time.”

Congress has proposed a range of changes above the final a number of decades to control sky-superior drug price ranges, however most have not made it into legislation.

Exorbitant prescription drug charges are a vital motive why Democratic lawmakers are reported to be now pushing ahead a deal that would enable the federal government to negotiate lessen discounts on behalf of Medicare. Proponents say the transfer would lower the charge of the most high priced medications, including cancer medicines.

For cancer clients, the problem is primarily dire due to the fact there are commonly number of reduce-cost treatment options, stated Nishwant Swami, a researcher at the College of Massachusetts Health care.

In June, Swami offered data at the American Society of Medical Oncology conference that uncovered nonwhite Hispanic most cancers survivors in the U.S. noted better prices of financial stress than white cancer survivors. About 70% of Mexican Individuals, in unique, claimed they could not manage their expenditures, he reported.

Scientists call the financial stress individuals confront after a life-threatening health and fitness analysis “economical toxicity.” The results of the monetary distress can variety

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Drinking tea may improve heart and brain health, immune function, and reduces cancer risk, a study found. BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy
  • During a recent symposium on the health benefits of tea, researchers from across the globe shared evidence suggesting that tea consumption may improve cardiovascular health, immune function, cognitive health, and reduce the risk of cancer.
  • The researchers noted that better quality evidence is needed to further establish these beneficial effects of tea consumption, including larger cohort studies and randomized clinical trials.
  • The researchers advocated that people incorporate 2-4 cups of unsweetened tea into the daily diet as a source of flavonoids, which are responsible to a large extent for these beneficial effects.

Leading scientists in the field of tea research recently met virtually at the Sixth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health to discuss the current state of knowledge and the gaps in understanding about the benefits of tea. Researchers discussed many topics at the symposium, which included the potential beneficial effects of tea on cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and the prevention of cancer.

The conference was organized by the Tea Council of the USA, the public relations arm of the Tea industry whose primary aim is to encourage greater tea consumption. It accomplishes this by furthering tea science and “establishing tea as a healthy, good for you beverage.”

Here is a breakdown of the main findings, and why it may be too early to draw definitive conclusions.

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. The four primary types of tea include white, green, Oolong, and black. All four teas are derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but differ in how they are processed after harvesting.

Tea contains a wide array of components that have biological activity, including flavonoids, L-theanine, and caffeine. Many of the beneficial effects of tea are due to the high levels of flavonoids, such as catechins, which have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.

The differences in the manufacturing process can influence the chemical composition and the beneficial effects of the different tea types. For instance, green tea is roasted before it can oxidize and hence, contains higher levels of catechins. In contrast, black tea is allowed to oxidize and has lower levels of catechins. Meanwhile, black tea contains larger amounts of other flavonoids called thearubigins and theaflavins, which also possess antioxidant properties.

A number of observational studies suggest that tea consumption is associated with improvements in cognitive function. A few small randomized controlled trials have suggested tea intake may result in short-term improvements in attention.

Each cup of tea contains about 35-60 mg of caffeine, which may contribute to the increase in attention and improvements in mood some people experience after consuming tea. Tea also contains theanine, which has been suggested to enhance attention while reducing anxiety and stress.

Researchers think that the presence of theanine and caffeine may potentially produce a simultaneous feeling of calmness while improving attention. In addition, limited evidence suggests

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For the uninitiated, seborrheic keratosis refers to noncancerous growths on the skin. These growths can look of different colors, including brown or black, and appear on any part of the body, more commonly on the neck and head. Contrary to what some people believe, seborrheic keratoses are not contagious or dangerous. In most cases, patients don’t need any treatment unless there are other symptoms. If you are unhappy with the way your skin looks, you can check online for Chevy Chase seborrheic keratosis clinics. In this post, we are sharing more on symptoms, treatments, and when to check with a doctor. 

Understanding the Symptoms

A seborrheic keratosis typically looks like an unusual growth, which often looks like a wart. It can appear on the face, chest, and neck. Some people just have one seborrheic keratosis, but most patients have many at once. The color can be black or brown, although light tan is also common. Usually, seborrheic keratosis looks round or oval in shape and kind of “raised”. You may want to consult a doctor if you have many seborrheic keratoses at once or the skin feels too itchy. Growths don’t usually cause pain, but if you don’t like the appearance or have bleeding, you need to seek medical attention. 

Getting Screened for Cancer

As we mentioned, seborrheic keratoses are not cancerous, and therefore, you may not have anything to worry about. However, sometimes people ignore signs of skin cancer, assuming that they have seborrheic keratosis. This is the precise reason why screening is important. If you have skin cancer running in your family, this is something that you should take seriously. While doctors aren’t sure what causes seborrheic keratoses, genes are suspected of having a role. Also, the condition often tends to be related to an older age. 

Treatment

If your doctor finds that you don’t need treatment, you don’t have to worry about seborrheic keratosis. However, if there is unusual growth, or you are in discomfort, you may consider removal. Cryosurgery and electrosurgery are often used to remove seborrheic keratoses. In electrosurgery, the doctor will use an electric current to remove the growth. Curettage is also an option to scrape off seborrheic keratosis. 

Don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor if you have seborrheic keratoses. These growths can impact your appearance and can cause unexpected emotional turmoil. Cosmetic reasons are enough to consider removal, and for that, you need to check with a medical expert first.… Read More...

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