HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Update
Today marks one year since the Trump administration announced it would not defend the ACA and that the entire law should be struck down, including protections for pre-existing conditions. In just one month, oral arguments are scheduled in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
New research released last week at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting shows that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in access to timely cancer treatment and led to earlier diagnoses and treatment of ovarian cancer.
“There’s increasing concern about greater disparities” between states that chose to expand Medicaid and those that did not, said Robin Yabroff, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.
Otis Brawley, a Johns Hopkins oncologist and former chief medical and scientific officer at the cancer society, agreed. “We are moving from black-white disparities to Massachusetts versus Mississippi disparities,” he said.
Some of the most exciting news to come out of the ASCO annual conference last week includes this study out of UCLA:
“The drug actually improves overall survival, so women are living longer because of these drugs,” Burstein said. “Many of us were really pleased to see that the actual impact on survival was as robust and substantial as it was.”
Recently, we’ve seen an increasing debate within the cancer community regarding the definition of cancer “survivor.” The NCCS’ definition of a “survivor,” being from the moment of diagnosis and for the balance of life, including family, friends, and caregivers, has been at the center of this discussion. Ultimately, NCCS believes it is up to everyone to decide for themselves what language is most comfortable and applicable to their own personal experience.
The author, Doris Cardwell, is an NCCS Elevate Ambassador and has been an incredible advocate since being diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2007. She talks about the important role support groups can play in providing patients with information and reducing feelings of isolation.
NCCS Remembers Two Cancer Pioneers
NCCS joins the cancer community in remembering two pioneers in the fields of cancer research and cancer care.
The Cancer Letter
Dr. LaSalle Leffall was chair of the surgery department at Howard University for many years and served as the first African-American president of the American Cancer Society. He chaired the President’s Cancer Panel and served in a leadership role for many other cancer organizations. Dr. Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University, said of Dr. Leffall, “He was a surgeon par excellence, oncologist, medical educator, civic leader, and mentor to me and so many others.”
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Dr. Henry Lynch is considered by many to be the father of cancer genetics. By “painstakingly charting the spread of cancer through the branches of family trees and down through generations,” Dr. Lynch showed the hereditary implications of some forms of cancer. Thanks to his research, he is “credited with saving thousands of lives by championing screening practices that help physicians catch cancers early in their course, as well as preventive surgeries that in some cases forestall the disease’s onset altogether.”