The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act is now before Congress.Timely access to treatment is critical for individuals dealing with any number of medical conditions. Metastatic breast cancer is no exception to this. Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to another part of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. The average life expectancy of an individual with MBC is three years.

Although there is no cure, treatments have extended survival for women and men with MBC. But for some individuals dealing with MBC, not being able to work, and thus not having health insurance, presents a major problem in getting access to care. Continue reading

Making Healthcare More Affordable: Review of “An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal

Review of 'An American Sickness' by Elisabeth RosenthalWe hear a lot these days about research into promising new immunotherapies and targeted cancer treatments. But when prices for new cancer therapies often exceed $100,000 a year, how many people could realistically be helped by new treatments like these? And prices for older drugs are accelerating too.

A recent article in the New York Times reported on the stories of a number of individuals struggling to cope with drug prices for essential medications that are far beyond what they can afford.

And it’s not just prescription drug prices that are rising at astronomical rates. All aspects of healthcare costs are affected, including prices for hospital care, medical devices and physician care. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, in her book “An American Sickness” gives us some perspective on how we got to where we are today with healthcare costs in this country and what we can do about it. Continue reading

A New Year: Where Do We Go From Here?

A new year and improving health careOne of the things I enjoy about the holiday season is that it usually includes some down time to reflect a bit on the past year and opportunities the new year brings.

As we start this new year, I’m looking forward to (hopefully) a wonderful year ahead, but it’s hard not to also recognize that there are many uncertainties at play in the larger world today.

I’ve been thinking lately about some of the lessons I’ve learned going through difficult times in the past. One of those lessons was recognizing that even when our world seems to be veering off course, there are things we can control. And those are the small and large (mostly small) choices we make and actions we take every day that add up to the kind of year we have and the life we live.

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Cancer and Health Policy: Some Things I’m Watching

Issues to watch in cancer and health policyThe last month has been full of discussion about where we’re headed as a country following the November 2016 election.

Health care policy is a big part of that discussion. There’s been much opining on what the leadership in Congress will likely be seeking to do. Right now, we are mostly faced with a huge amount of uncertainty.

Discussions of health care issues are often presented in ideological terms. But here’s the thing about cancer: once you’ve had to deal with it, you’re perspective changes. Whether you identify with Republicans, Democrats–or neither–you realize that many of the things that matter most are the same for everyone.

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