Archive for August, 2011

Cancer Patients Benefit From New Lifespan Predictor

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A new scoring system will predict more whether patients with advanced cancers are now likely to survive for days, weeks or months.

According to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, cancer is treatable and millions survive a cancer diagnosis as a result of improvements in medical care and medicines.  The new study that was published online in the British Medical Journal found that patients with advanced cancer often wish to know how long they have left to live. 

The information is also important for clinicians, the study authors pointed out.  The ability to know a more certain date can help them plan appropriate care. Clinician predictions of survival are the mainstay of current practice, but are unreliable, over-optimistic and subjective.

The researchers at St George’s, University of London set out to develop a scoring system for use in patients with advanced cancer in different care settings that was as good, or better, than clinicians’ best predictions.

The study involved over one thousand patients with advanced incurable cancer who were no longer receiving treatment.  These individuals had been recently referred to palliative care services.

Using a combination of clinical and laboratory variables known to predict survival, the team created two prognostic scores to predict whether patients were likely to survive for 0-13 days, 14-55 days or more than 55 days.  They would compare with actual survival and clinicians’ predictions.

The scientists took into account external factors that could have affected the results, such as age, gender, ethnicity, diagnosis, and extent of disease.   According to medical experts, this is the first study to benchmark a prognostic scoring system against current best practice.

There were 1.5 million new cancer diagnosis  in the United States according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org which tracks health news related to cancer and heart disease. 

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org/free-quote/ or by calling the Association’s offices.

Drinking Coffee Can Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Researchers report that instead of drinking your morning cup of coffee, spread it on your skin as a way of preventing harmful sun damage that leads to skin cancer. 

According to a new study, caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin.  The protein is known as ATR.  A report from the American Association for Critical Illness, cancer is a leading critical illness affecting millions of Americans annually.

Based on what scientists learned by studying mice, caffeine applied directly to the skin might help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer.  Earlier research noted that mice fed caffeinated water and exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly damaged cells and reduce the risk of cells becoming cancerous.

Jesse Slome, director of the critical illness insurance trade group explains that scientists have known that coffee drinking is associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.  “There now needs to be studies to determine whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced skin cancer,” Slome states.

In this newly-published study, instead of inhibiting ATR with caffeinated water, researchers at the University of Washington, genetically modified and diminished ATR in one group of mice. They found that the genetically modified mice developed tumors more slowly than the unmodified mice, had 69 percent fewer tumors than regular mice and developed four times fewer invasive tumors.

According to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, sunlight-induced skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than one million new cases each year.

The trade group offers no-cost quotes for critical illness insurance from a designated Association  professional.

New Drug Approved To Treat Deadly Skin Cancer

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a new drug to treat advanced melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. 

According to the announcement made in Washington, the drug named Zelboraf, was approved for patients with metastatic melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer and one form that cannot be removed with surgery. 

According to scientists, the drug is the latest in a new generation of cancer-fighting drugs specifically medically tailored to attack genetic vulnerabilities of malignancies.  The FDA explained that Zelboraf was approved only for tumors with a specific genetic mutation. The drug was approved with a test that can determine if a patient’s cancer has this particular mutation. 

The research testing and findings found that the mutation which produces a version of a protein that is normally involved in regulating cell growth is mutated in about half of patients with advanced melanoma. The report concluded that Zelboraf inhibits the activity of the mutated protein. 

Zelboraf, which is marketed by Genentech of San Francisco.  The medication was reviewed under the FDA’s priority review program, which enables the agency to approve drugs quickly. 

In a study involving 675 patients with late-stage melanoma with the mutation, 77 percent of those who received Zelboraf were still living, while only 64 percent of those who received a standard chemotherapy drug known as dacarbazine survived eight months, the FDA said. 

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin disease. About 68,130 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed and about 8,700 people die from the disease each year in the United States according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org which tracks health news related to cancer and heart disease. 

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org/free-quote/ or by calling the Association’s offices.

Cancer Risk Reduced By Even 15 Minutes Of Exercise

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

New research finds that just 15 minutes of daily physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer.

The current generally accepted exercise recommendations call for adults to do a total of 2.5 hours of physical activity weekly.  That equates to about 150 minutes per-week.

This week, researchers released the results of a study that reports that doing only a quarter-hour of daily exercise or about 105 minutes a week still provides benefits.

Adults who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week were 10 percent less likely to die of cancer, and had a three-year longer life expectancy, on average.  Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum 15 minutes further reduced the risk of all-cause death by 4 percent and the risk of cancer death by 1 percent.

“Over 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year so anything that reduces the risk is most welcome news,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org

The study included more than 390,000 residents of  Taiwan.  Researchers followed these individuals for an average of eight years and, based on self-reported amounts of weekly exercise, placed them into five categories.

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org/free-quote/ or by calling the Association’s offices.

Vitamin D Linked To Higher Risk Of Cancer

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

New research reports that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer.  The levels fall within the normal range of vitamin D levels the researchers report.

People with levels of higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were more likely to develop squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma the scientists found.  Other factors, including increased exposure to sunlight, likely complicate the relationship.  The news was reported online in Archives of Dermatology.

The relationship between vitamin D and skin cancer is complex and studies have yielded conflicting results acknowledges Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks news related to cancer and heart disease.

“Some research suggests that vitamin D might reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, but other studies have had the opposite outcome,” explains Jesse Slome, AACII’s director.  The researchers analyzed data, over an average of 9.8 years of follow-up, from over 3,200 white members of a health maintenance organization who had a high probability of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer.

The researchers found, 240 patients developed nonmelanoma skin cancer, including 49 with squamous cell carcinoma, 163 with basal cell carcinoma, and 28 with both.  Some 80% of the cases occurred in sites frequently exposed to the sun.

When patients were divided into four groups according to their D levels, there was a trend linking the higher levels and skin cancer risk that was significant.

The findings add “to the limited and conflicting epidemiological investigation regarding the relationship between vitamin D and [nonmelanoma skin cancer], the researchers concluded.  They added that, aside from UVB light, the finding might also be confounded by such things as participants’ vitamin D levels over a lifetime and consumption of vitamin D supplements, which they were unable to investigate.

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org/free-quote/ or by calling the Association’s offices.

Video Explains How To Compare Critical Illness Insurance Policies

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

To educate American consumers about critical illness insurance protection a relatively new form of insurance, the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance launched a new educational program.

Citical illness insurance has only recently become available in the United States, ecplains Jesse Slome, executive director of the Los Angeles-based trade group.  The protection pays a lump sum cash payment upon diagnosis of cancer, a heart attack or stroke. 

“There were 1.5 million new cancer cases in the U.S. over the past 12 months,” Slome explains.  “Illnesses are the leading reason millions of Americans have declared bankruptcy which doesn’t have to happen if you understand your options and plan ahead.”

The Association has produced a nine minute online presentation that briefly explains what critical illness insurance protects and provides tips on what to look for in a policy.  “Consumers have no idea how to compare coverage offered to them on an individual basis or through their employer,” Slome notes.  “We wanted to share five very simple things to look for that will help them make better decisions.”

For example Slome explains, critical illness insurance offered by an employer may actually cost more than equal protection purchased on an individual basis.  “There is no reason to pay more than you need to,” Slome advises. 

The presentation can be viewed for free at http://my.brainshark.com/Guide-For-Consumers-Considering-Critical-Illness-Insurance-565325792

Early Morning Smokers Face Higher Cancer Risk

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

American smokers who light their first cigarette soon after waking up may be at greater risk for lung, head and neck cancers a new study finds.

“First thing in the morning smokers face a greater risk according to new research,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org, a trade group.  “Those who wait longer before having their first cigarette apparently face a lower risk of cancers.”  There were 1.5 million new cancer cases in the U.S. according to Association data.

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Cancer.  Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine explained that early morning smokers have higher levels of nicotine and possibly other tobacco toxins in their body.  As a result, they may be more addicted than smokers who refrain from smoking for a half hour or more. 

Researchers compared nearly 4,800 lung cancer patients with some 2,800 smokers who didn’t have cancer. They reported finding that those who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking up were 1.3 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who waited at least an hour before lighting up. 

The study researchers added that those individuals who smoked within 30 minutes of waking up were 1.79 times more likely to develop lung cancer. 

In a separate analysis, the investigators compared over 1,050 smokers with head and neck cancer with nearly 800 smokers without the disease. Those who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking up were 1.42 times more likely to develop cancer than those who waited more than an hour minutes to have a cigarette. Smokers who had their first cigarette within a half hour of waking up were 1.59 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer. 

The findings suggest the desire to have a cigarette immediately after waking up may increase smokers’ risk for cancer.  In particular, these smokers would benefit from smoking cessation programs and should focus specifically on this early morning behavior.

New Information Can Help Predict Who’ll Survive Heart Attack

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Important news for the nearly one million Americans who will have their first heart attack over the next 12 months.  Researchers report that it may be possible to predict who will survive or die as a result of that attack. 

According to the new study which analyzed data from nearly 20,000 people there are traits that could predict the risk that a heart attack would be fatal. Those traits included having high blood pressure, being black and having a very high body mass index which is a measurement based on height and weight. 

“For some people, the first heart attack is more likely to end their life,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, a national trade group.  “But increasingly more people are surviving heart attacks as well as cancer and strokes.”

The researchers found that in general blacks are at higher risk than non-blacks of sudden cardiac death, in which the heart suddenly stops beating.  But, they noted, they are at less risk of coronary heart disease. 

High blood pressure and increased heart rate were stronger predictors of sudden cardiac death than coronary heart disease.   Extreme high or low BMI was predictive of increased risk of sudden cardiac death, but not of coronary heart disease. 

Certain markers that can be identified by doctors evaluating patients’ electrocardiograms are associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death. 

Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack this year and about 600,000 will experience their first stroke according to a report from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health-related data.  “Both stroke and heart attack are leading health conditions that can financially wipe out a family,” explains Jesse Slome, the association’s executive director.