ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
CANCER
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Add your Article

Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- In another sign of the challenges facing the health-care industry as it tries to serve the poor, researchers from North Carolina are reporting that nearly four in 10 poor women recovering from breast cancer do not take the drugs recommended to keep their cancer from returning.

Those who do not follow instructions to take these drugs, medications that block hormones, face a higher risk of dying, said study author Dr. Gretchen Kimmick.

The findings don't examine whether wealthier women are more likely to take the drugs, nor do they reveal trends over time.

Even so, they raise questions about poor women's lack of adherence to the drug regimens, including whether it's due to factors other than money because government-funded insurance would cover almost all the cost.

"The key right now is that we've got to figure out why they didn't get the standard treatment," said Kimmick, an associate professor in medical oncology at Duke University.

The study included 1,491 low-income women, who averaged 67 years old and were recovering from breast cancer, which had been diagnosed between 1998 and 2002.

The researchers found that 36 percent of the women failed to fill prescriptions for the recommended drugs to prevent the return of a type of breast cancer known as hormone receptor-positive. Women in the study had that type or an unknown type of breast cancer; two-thirds had undergone mastectomies.

Of those who did fill initial prescriptions, 40 percent stopped the drugs before the end of the year-long period.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the drug company AstraZeneca, appears in the May 18 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Drugs such as the well-known medication tamoxifen, which AstraZeneca markets, are thought to help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. Kimmick said that they seem to kill cancer cells by blocking estrogen from getting to them.

Treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy don't always kill cells that "snuck out," and the drugs appear to target them, she said.

But some women might have trouble getting into the routine of taking the drugs, she said. Side effects are also possible.

Cost could be a factor in some cases, but the women in the study paid only a "minimal" co-payment for the drugs, Kimmick said.

There are other possible explanations. Dr. Leonidas G. Koniaris, a surgical oncologist who's familiar with the study's findings, said that some women might not realize the value of the drugs.

It's also possible that people from certain cultures could have more mistrust of doctors and medical treatments, said Koniaris, chairman of surgical oncology and an associate professor of surgery at the University of Miami.

Ultimately, he said, women's survival is at risk if they don't follow instructions. Though the drugs won't make a difference to women whose breast cancer was cured by initial treatment, he said, "for one in 10 or one in 20, their chance for cure and long-term survival is shortened by not taking the medications."

More information

The nonprofit group BreastCancer.org has more on breast cancer treatment and side effects.



SOURCES: Gretchen Kimmick, M.D., associate professor, medical oncology, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Leonidas G. Koniaris, M.D., associate professor and Alan Livingstone chair in surgical oncology, University of Miami; May 18, 2009, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online

Last Updated: May 18, 2009

Copyright 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com