Joe Dangor (@joedangor)
Activity by Joe Dangor
ROCHESTER, MINN. – A group of 118 of the nation's leading cancer experts have drafted a prescription for reducing the high cost of cancer drugs and voiced support for a patient-based grassroots movement demanding action on the issue. Their recommendations and support are outlined in a commentary, co-authored by the group, in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"High cancer drug prices are affecting the care of patients with cancer and our health care system," says lead author Ayalew Tefferi, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic. "The average gross household income in the U.S. is about $52,000 per year. For an insured patient with cancer who needs a drug that costs $120,000 per year, the out-of-pocket expenses could be as much as $25,000 to $30,000 – more than half their average household income."
The group cites a 2015 study by D.H. Howard and colleagues et al, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, which found that cancer drug prices have risen by an average of $8,500 per year over the past 15 years.
"When you consider that cancer will affect 1 in 3 individuals over their lifetime, and [with] recent trends in insurance coverage [that] put a heavy financial burden on patients with out-of-pocket expenses, you quickly see that the situation is not sustainable," Dr. Tefferi, says. "It's time for patients and their physicians to call for change."
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Tefferi are available in the downloads.
ROCHESTER, MINN. – Mayo Clinic announced today that it has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study survivorship in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes Cohort Study will enroll 12,000 patients with NHL. The study will follow these patients for long-term prognosis and survivorship.
"With an increasing number of Americans living with NHL, we need to find new and better ways to improve the length and quality of their lives,” says the study's principle investigator, James Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., who is an epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic.
NHL is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout the body. In NHL, tumors develop from lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell.
According to the NCI, about 70,000 cases of NHL will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015. The incidence of NHL has been increasing since 1950, although, over the past two decades, the rate of increase has slowed, and survival rates have improved. These trends have led to an increasing number of NHL survivors – most recently estimated at 550,000.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, email@example.com
ROCHESTER, Minn. — The molecular makeup of brain tumors can be used to sort patients with gliomas into five categories, each with different clinical features and outcomes, researchers at Mayo Clinic and the University of California San Francisco have shown. The finding could change the methods that physicians rely on to determine prognosis and treatment options. Previously, they relied on how patients’ tumors look under the microscope. The study is published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Our findings are going to weigh heavily on the future classification of brain tumors. The time of classifying these tumors solely according to histology as astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma or mixed oligoastrocytoma could be a thing of the past,” says lead study author Daniel H. Lachance, M.D., a neuro oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “This molecular data helps us better classify glioma patients, so we can begin to understand who needs to be treated more aggressively and who might be able to avoid unnecessary therapies.”
CHICAGO -- A new study presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that the practice should be reconsidered. More than 650,000 patients a year in the U.S. are diagnosed and treated for cancers that spread to the brain. For about 200,000 of these patients, those with 1-3 small brain metastases, a combination of whole brain radiation therapy and radiosurgery, a highly focused form of radiation therapy, have been the standard of care.
While whole brain radiation therapy improves tumor control it did not improve survival and it was shown to have deleterious effects on patients cognitive abilities. “This is the classic question: Which is worse, the disease or the treatment,?” said Jan Buckner, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study. “We used to offer whole brain radiation early on, but we now know that the toxicities of this therapy are worse for the patients than the cancer growth or recurrences in the brain. We expect that practice will shift to reserve the use of whole brain radiation therapy for salvage therapy (used when cancer will not respond to other therapies) and in end-stage palliative care.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005
CHICAGO — Use of the targeted agent pacritinib significantly reduced the symptoms and burden of advanced myelofibrosis in patients, says a Mayo Clinic researcher who co-led PERSIST-1, the worldwide phase 3 clinical trial that tested the therapy. Specifically, pacritinib substantially reduced severe enlargement of the spleen, a typical feature of advanced myelofibrosis, in more than 20 percent of patients and alleviated debilitating side effects in more than 46 percent.
Investigators further found that pacritinib could be used safely in patients with myelofibrosis who have thrombocytopenia, a life-threating loss of blood platelets that can lead to deadly bleeding. The only currently approved therapy for myelofibrosis — ruxolitinib — is not recommended in patients who have severe thrombocytopenia.
Ruben A. Mesa, M.D., chair of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, will present these results at a press conference held during the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005
ROCHESTER Minn. – Mayo Clinic today announced that fundraising associated with the VICE documentary “Killing Cancer,” which aired on HBO earlier this year, has exceeded $2 million. This achievement was reached a month earlier than anticipated.
The Killing Cancer campaign also set a record at Mayo Clinic with 30 percent of gifts received online, compared to 10 percent for previous campaigns. Many of the gifts came from new supporters to Mayo Clinic a reflection the younger demographics of the VICE audience and VICE’s strong digital presence.
“The money raised in the Killing Cancer campaign will have impact right away, helping advance cancer research and finding cures for patients,” said John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO.
The success of the campaign was due in large part to a fundraising match challenge issued by VICE founder and CEO Shane Smith with a total goal of $2 million. Through the challenge, Mr. Smith matched the first $1 million in gifts made by more than 10,000 documentary viewers and loyal Mayo Clinic supporters.
Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic urologists will present research findings on several topics at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting May 15–19 in New Orleans. Researchers will be available to discuss their research with reporters who are covering the conference. Mayo Clinic studies to be presented include:
Holmium Laser Excision of Genitourinary Mesh Exposure Following Anti-Incontinence Surgery: Minimum Six-Month Follow-up.
Embargoed until Sunday, May 17, 2015 1:00 p.m. CT
The polypropylene mesh implants used in some incontinence surgeries for women can erode tissue and sometimes intrude into the bladder or urethra, often causing pain, bleeding and infection. Conventional treatment requires major open surgery.
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered they can trim mesh with an endoscopic laser and remove it without having to make incisions.
“Removal of mesh with old-fashioned surgery is a big surgery,” says lead author Daniel Elliott, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urologist. “We were trying to see if there is a way to get this done easier. With certain types of mesh exposures this is very effective and others it’s not. But it presents itself as a potential option for some of these people to avoid a major surgery.” [...]
ROCHESTER, Minn. — May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and the perfect time to raise awareness about this deadly disease. Mayo Clinic experts in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota are available to discuss Melanoma prevention, detection and treatment strategies.
Here are some skin cancer prevention tips from Mayo Clinic:
Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. For many people in North America, the sun's rays are strongest between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy.
You absorb UV radiation year-round, and clouds offer little protection from damaging rays. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps you avoid the sunburns and suntans that cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Sun exposure accumulated over time also may cause skin cancer.