What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), January 5, 2018
What Caught Our Eye is our week-in-review blog series, where we recap the cancer policy articles, studies, and stories that caught our attention.

Affordable Care Act

“Trump’s Move to Make Skimpier Health Plans More Available Threatens to Undermine Obamacare”

Via L.A. TimesThe Trump administration moved Thursday to further loosen regulations on health insurance plans, taking a modest step toward the president’s oft-stated goal of rolling back requirements imposed by the Affordable Care Act that many Republicans blame for high premiums.
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“Why the U.S. Spends So Much More Than Other Nations on Health Care”

Via New York TimesThe United States spends almost twice as much on health care, as a percentage of its economy, as other advanced industrialized countries — totaling $3.3 trillion, or 17.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016. But a few decades ago American health care spending was much closer to that of peer nations.

What happened?
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Coping With Cancer

“Survivorship Care Plans Called ‘Vital’”

Via MassLive.comA recent study that looked at cancer diagnoses in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013 found that 18.4 percent of the cases represented a second cancer diagnosis, with most prior cancers at a different cancer site. The report concludes that for these patients “little is known about their treatment and survivorship needs,” something it adds is “critical to improving clinical trial accrual and generalizability, disease outcomes and patient experience.”

[Dr. Jay] Burton, a cancer survivor, primary care doctor and founder of the non-profit, Survivor Journeys, as well as the Primary Care Cancer Survivorship Program of Western Massachusetts that he established at Springfield Medical Associates, was asked about the growing importance of Survivorship Care Plans as more people are living longer as cancer survivors.
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“New Cancer Treatments have Perplexing Side Effects”

By Laurie McGinley, Washington PostWhen Diane Legg began seeing black specks in her right eye, she went to an ophthalmologist near her home in Amesbury, Mass. He said she had a torn retina and needed laser surgery.

Legg’s oncologist was skeptical.
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“When the Lung Cancer Patient Climbs Mountains”

Via New York Times WellOn Oct. 15 at 8 a.m., Andy Lindsay stood atop 21,247-foot Mera Peak in Nepal, a widely improbable place for him to be both athletically and medically.

Andy, a veteran climber and a friend of mine, had been living with Stage IV lung cancer for three years. “To live one year was statistically unlikely, and two years looked like a miracle,” he said.
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Cancer News

“Too Much Screening has Mislead Us About Real Cancer Risk Factors, Experts Say”

Via Stat NewsThe best-known downside of cancer screening, such as PSA tests for prostate cancer and mammograms for breast cancer, is that they often flag cancers that pose no risk, leading to overdiagnosis and unnecessary, even harmful, treatment. But widespread screening for “scrutiny-dependent” cancers — those for which the harder you look the more you find, and the more of what you find is harmless — causes another problem, two leading cancer experts argue in a paper published on Monday: increasing the apparent incidence of some cancers. That in turn is misleading doctors and the public about what increases people’s risk of developing cancers — or at least the types of cancer that matter.
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“7 Key Cancer Trends for 2018”

By Elaine Schattner, ForbesI expect progress. Here’s my list of major trends and issues that will affect the lives of cancer patients in 2018:

1. Less chemotherapy

A recent report finds that among patients with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer, chemotherapy prescriptions slid, overall, from around 34.5% to 21.3%, in a recent 2-year interval (2013-2015). That’s a huge drop, from over a third of women with stage 1 or 2 disease getting chemo, to just over a fifth taking chemo.
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