Making sense of complicated medical diagnoses and treatments can be overwhelming for most people. Imagine how much more so for those who are hearing impaired, do not speak English or only have limited comprehension skills. Without access to language services, this could be downright dangerous and in fact there have been cases where patients have been harmed as a result.
According to the 2011 U.S. Census, English still remains the primary language in the Unites States but Spanish and Chinese are gaining ground. Health care providers and hospitals have a professional obligation to make sure that patients comprehend their care and treatment options.
Now to digress for a brief history lesson…
Access to language services is a legal right that was established in 1964 by Title VI the Civil Rights Act. Title VI applies to all health care institutions that accept government funding sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, National Institutes of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a condition of Continue reading →
“My first thought was, ‘Really? Me, breast cancer?’ I just couldn’t believe it,” said actress and comedian Wanda Sykes on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2011. Sykes’s family had a history of breast cancer on her mother’s side, but that wasn’t what prompted her doctors to discover her cancer. At the age of 47 she had cosmetic surgery to reduce her breast size, and the cancer was discovered afterward when pathologists examined the breast tissue that had been removed. She was fortunate that her cancer was caught at a very early stage when treatments are more effective. Continue reading →
Caregiving can look many ways. It is not necessarily providing physical care such as lifting and dressing like so many tend to believe. Being a caregiver frequently refers to providing emotional support and love. It can mean providing transportation, meals and maybe financial assistance. No matter the type of care, it typically means that a lot of changes are occurring for both the person receiving and the person providing care.
A study published by the American Cancer Society online in 2008 discussed the relationship between caregiving and mental health. The report showed that caregivers who have emotional and problem orientated support were better able to cope with a loved one’s cancer and the pressures of caregiving. Individuals who reported skills in seeking out information also dealt with caregiving with greater ease. These skills are not innate and often times adults need assistance in further developing them. Continue reading →
Triple negative breast cancer tends to be an aggressive form of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African American women. Among women with breast cancer, the triple negative subtype represents about 15% of diagnoses in white American women and is twice as common in African-American breast cancer patients. In Africa, this form of breast cancer represents more than half of all cases diagnosed.
We call this subtype triple negative because it doesn’t have, or is negative for, all three specific tumor markers currently used to decide treatment: Continue reading →
While researchers have not been able to pinpoint a single cause for cancer, we know that several variables are involved. Our age, race, genetics, lifestyle and environment can influence our chances of developing it. Some of these variables such as race can cause differences or inequalities known as cancer disparities. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), African Americans have the highest cancer death rate of any racial group for all cancers combined. This is a huge disparity and one that is not experienced by other ethic groups to quite the extent it is in African-America individuals. Continue reading →
Radiologist Alexis Nees and surgeon Lisa Newman consult over a mammogram
News outlets this week reported on recently published data from a mammography screening study from Canada that was highly critical of the benefit of screening mammography.
First, it should be noted that this is not a new study. The study was conducted in the early 1980s – three decades ago – and the recent report is merely a re-review of the data.
The results of the so-called Canadian trial, first published 22 years ago, showed no benefit for screened women and as expected, the recent re-review showed the same results. The Canadian trial results are different than other randomized clinical trials, which do show benefit. When nine randomized clinical trials are combined together, including the Canadian trial, screening mammography has been shown to significantly decrease breast cancer mortality for women age 39 and older.