Can Distress Screening Help Caregivers?

November is National Family Caregivers Month—a time to raise awareness for the approximately 3 million people in the U.S. who act as caregivers to their relatives, friends, or partners—all while juggling other demanding roles in life.

An article appearing in the fall issue of Cancer Today, a resource for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers, highlights efforts to understand the nature of distress in caregiving and better ways to provide support for those who need it.

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Value-Based Cancer Care: Paying for Performance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offers value-based programs that “reward health care providers with incentive payments for the quality of care they give to people.” Many private insurers offer similar payment approaches or are considering how to do so. The hope is that financial rewards will go to physicians, hospitals and health systems that deliver the best patient outcomes, not simply generate the largest number of procedures, laboratory tests, radiographic images, and drugs.

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ESPN Reporter Holly Rowe Works Through Cancer

Sports are often referred to as a metaphor for life. But, for ESPN reporter Holly Rowe, sports are quite literally a way of life. When Rowe was undergoing treatment for desmoplastic melanoma, her passion for sports—and telling athletes’ stories from the sidelines—helped her muscle through her own personal struggles.

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The Right Dose: Researching Cancer Treatment De-Escalation

Cancer researchers often focus on developing novel treatments or combining therapies in new ways, all with the goal of lengthening survival for patients. But some cancer research has a different goal: to reduce the amount and intensity of treatment patients receive while maintaining equally good cancer outcomes. In the summer 2019 issue of Cancer Today, digital editor Kate Yandell writes about the challenges and successes of this approach, called treatment de-escalation.

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Clonal Hematopoiesis: You Are Not the Same Person You Used to Be

When new cells are needed to replace old, worn-out cells in our organs and tissues, the DNA that encodes the blueprint for all cellular components from one cell must be replicated faithfully in each of the new cells. During replication, when one cell divides to create two cells, as many as 100,000 mistakes occur. Fortunately, the replicating cells fix almost all of the mistakes, though about 10 errors persist for each new cell formed. These errors are called mutations.

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The Net Widens for Research on Rare Cancer

Rare cancers, when taken all together, make up an estimated 20 to 25 percent of all cancers diagnosed. With more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, that could mean as many as 400,000 people will learn they have a rare cancer. Often, these patients have few treatment options.

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Cancer Today Highlights Lessons in Survivorship

Every person who hears the words “you have cancer” has a unique story. As part of Cancer Today’s mission to provide “practical hope” and “real knowledge” to those who are affected by cancer, we strive to highlight those stories to provide a real-life glimpse into the challenges of treatment and what comes after.

As National Cancer Survivor Month comes to a close, we’d like to take an opportunity to reflect on some of the lessons we’ve learned from the cancer survivors who have shared their stories with Cancer Today, the magazine and online resource for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers, which is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

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Why Are Liver Cancer Death Rates Up?

Since the 1990s, the cancer mortality rate in the U.S. has steadily declined. Yet liver cancer death rates in the U.S. have increased. Why?
Liver cancer is caused principally by the combination of a chronic hepatitis B virus infection and dietary exposure to aflatoxin B1, a contaminant that grows on corn and peanuts. Recent efforts to better control liver cancer globally include wide distribution of hepatitis B virus vaccines—more than a billion so far—and deployment of food safety tactics to prevent exposure to aflatoxin B1.

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Cancer Survival: Improving Health After Treatment

At long last, cancer survival statistics are beginning to reveal real progress. From 1991 to 2015, the cancer death rate in the U.S. dropped by 26 percent, resulting in an estimated 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths. In 2016, more than 15.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive; that number is projected to exceed 20 million by 2026. The U.S. health care system faces a looming challenge: how to deal with the wide array of health and wellness aftereffects faced by children and adults who were once cancer patients.

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A Growing Commitment to Cancer Survivors

Thanks to decades of cancer research that have brought us groundbreaking discoveries and treatments, 15.5 million U.S. cancer survivors have more time to spend with their loved ones. That number is only going up, to an estimated 26.1 million by 2040.

For most of these survivors, their journey comes with complications and lasting side effects. Many continue to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional impact of their cancer diagnosis long after their final treatment. Thousands of survivors face financial challenges resulting from or made worse by their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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