In the News

Patients may not understand the information medical care providers give them for a number of reasons, but significant among them is poor healthcare literacy, which is the ability to understand health information and to use that information to make good decisions about health and medical care. Unfortunately, about 33% of the adult population in the United States has limited healthcare literacy. Yet, the need for this proficiency is greater than ever because medical care has become progressively more complex. Let us take a look at healthcare literacy facts and figures:

Thanks to medical research, there are nearly 12 million cancer survivors living in the United States today. And the research continues: There are approximately 400 new cancer therapies in preclinical and clinical development. As progress continues to treat those with cancer, let’s examine the statistics related to clinical trial participation.


From 1996 through 2002, National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored cooperative group nonsurgical treatment trials for breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers enrolled 75,215 patients:

Increased awareness, earlier detection through screening, and advances in treatment have led to a decline in breast cancer death rates in the United States since 1990. Sadly, breast cancer continues to claim more women’s lives than any other cancer, besides lung cancer. For more statistical data on this prevalent disease, let’s take a look at breast cancer by the numbers.

About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with dexamethasone may have greater risk for neurocognitive impairment and poor emotional regulation than patients treated with prednisone, and they exhibited symptoms of physical stress.
Almost half of the cancer patients in a recent study did not receive any thromboprophylaxis during hospitalization, even though cancer and its treatment increases the risk for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) and three professional organizations—the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network—have issued guidelines recommending DVT prophylaxis.
SAN ANTONIO—A re-analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)—which found an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease in women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT)—suggests that estrogen alone, without progesterone, may actually be protective against breast cancer. 
SAN ANTONIO—A rapidly growing, nationwide clinical trial matching service that is user-friendly for patients is enabling more patients to learn about and enroll in clinical trials, said Ellie Cohen, PhD, the program’s director. Cohen described the success of her program at the 33rd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 
SAN ANTONIO—In a trial involving women with stage II/III breast cancer (N = 3360), adding zoledronic acid (ZA) to standard adjuvant chemotherapy did not prolong overall survival (OS) or disease-free survival (DFS) after a median follow-up of 59 months, contrary to some previous reports.
SAN ANTONIO—For women with human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2)-overexpressing breast cancer, preoperative treatment with agents that block HER2 leads to high rates of pathological complete response (pCR), according to the results of three studies presented at the 33rd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 
ORLANDO—Patients often do not understand the terms clinicians use to describe their hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which may lead to misunderstandings about their disease. 
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