Study Shows Surgeons are Large Factor in Breast Cancer Outcome

A new study of 994 women with the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, has found that the variety of treatments done by surgeons can have a significant difference in the rate of recurrence of the cancer.

Andrew Dick, the author of the study and a researcher at RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh said that, “Treatment variation is a troubling but well-known phenomenon in health care.” In addition, “The reason it is surprising in this case is that the variation is quite large, and related to factors that are very important in health outcomes.”

The study showed that the outcome variation by surgeon caused between 15% and 35% of cancer occurring in the other breast within the following five years after the surgery, with an additional 13% to 30% over the next 10 years.

The variant factors included having “negative margins”, that is, cancer cells which are more than 2 millimeters away from the tissue edge which has been removed; and also getting radiation treatments subsequent to the surgery.

Running- a Very Healthy Habit

Running is an activity that people do for various reasons. Studies have shown that the health benefits of running are many and widespread, and doctors often recommend it to their patients. First, running can boost your immune system and prevent anything from the common cold to cancer in some people. It is one of the best aerobic exercises, as it conditions your heart and lungs, and ensures the flow of blood and oxygen to all parts of the body; effects that are proven to lessen the risk of heart attacks.

Running can strengthen bones and increase their density, and is also good for the leg and core muscles. Many women take up running or jogging in order to maintain a flat stomach. Aside from boosting a person’s confidence in their appearance, running is a wonderful stress-reliever and can even ease mild depression. Many athletes enjoy running because of the “runner’s high,” the euphoric, calm and confident state of mind that is achieved after a hard run. Adults who exercise on a regular basis are found to be healthier and happier. Running creates an energetic and creative attitude.

Why Massages Are So Healthy

Massage is often thought of as an enjoyable, relaxing experience for a vacation, but it is in fact incredibly beneficial for your health. If done correctly, massage and bodywork treatments can:

• Alleviate of back pain and improved range of motion
• Assist with labor for pregnant women
• Enhance the immune system by stimulating lymph flow
• Exercise and stretch weak or tight muscles
• Improve the condition of the skin
• Reduce muscle spasms and cramping
• Help prepare for and recover from workouts
• Release endorphins- the body’s natural pain killer
• Improve circulation
• Relieve emotional and physical stress

These are only a few of the many helpful aspects of massage. Instead of treating yourself to an expensive massage on the rare occasion, you may want to consider going to regular, half hour sessions a few times a month. Or, you and your partner or a friend can attend massage classes, and then give each other free treatments!

The Government Health Care Plan Covers “Wellness Visits” And Preventative Care

The New Year has brought some positive changes to those who receive Medicare benefits. Now, in addition to covering doctors’ visits when you are ill, the government sponsored health care plan also covers ‘wellness visits’ and other preventative care measures. According to the new guidelines which went into effect on January 1st, 2011, most preventative care will be 100% covered by Medicare with no deductible or co-payments.

People with traditional Medicare coverage can now take one free ‘wellness visit’ to their doctor every year. At this check-up they can discuss all kinds of issues with the goal of preventing disease from arising, including evaluating the patients family history, other health-care professionals the patient is seeing, and the medications he is on.

The doctor will also make sure the patient is on schedule with cancer screenings, vaccinations and other preventative tests. And not only is this visit free, but the screenings and tests, such as a mammogram or colorectal cancer screening are completely covered by Medicare as well. Even the doctor-recommended pneumococcal -a vaccine, which at the moment over 40% of seniors do not get, will be free of charge. If everyone at risk received this vaccine, many, and perhaps all of the 40,000 Americans who die each year from pneumonia, would live.

New Cancer-Detecting Technology

A new cancer-detecting method is currently being developed, in a study conducted by Veridex, Johnson & Johnson and Massachusetts General Hospital. The new blood test uses CTC (circulating tumor cell) technology to capture, count and identify tumor cells which circulate in a patient’s bloodstream. These cells are found at very low levels.

Cancer-cell“This new technology has the potential to facilitate an easy-to-administer, non-invasive blood test that would allow us to count tumor cells, and to characterize the biology of the cells,” explained Robert McCormack of Veridex in a press release issued by Johnson & Johnson. “Harnessing the information contained in these cells in an in vitro clinical setting could enable tools to help select treatment and monitor how patients are responding.”

Today, patients must undergo painful biopsies in order to be diagnosed. The samples do not determine the correct treatment for the patient, and many experimental treatments are administered in order to identify which is the most effective. The process is often very slow and many patients do not survive the wait. If the new research is successful, the CTC technology will enable doctors to provide an immediate, more accurate diagnosis, as well as more personalized treatments for the patients.