Message from the ‘Ramblin’ Man’

The year was 1972 and the Allman Brothers Band released the album “Eat a Peach.” I just about wore out that piece of vinyl. If you have a soft spot in your heart for that hit album and this southern rock band, then I’d bet that you, like me, were sad to learn of the…

Living Longer with Breast Cancer

The chances of a woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime remain high, but there is good news in terms of post-treatment survival which is up to 89.7% (for five years). The high survival rates are due, in large part, to advances in treatment options. One of these is the medication Xeloda® (capecitabine) from Genentech….

Hepatitis C ‘Finish Line’ Moves

The incredible scientific advances leading to the development of numerous choices in highly effective hepatitis C medications should mean a plummeting of the number of Americans with this life threatening disease. It’s now known how this disease is spread, what it does to the liver, and – most importantly – how to cure it for…

‘Aspirin a Day’ for Cancer Prevention?

Millions of American adults already take a daily aspirin to protect their hearts; the research on aspirin and cardiovascular health is clear and beneficial. Over the past two decades, scientific studies have been accumulating about the potential for aspirin – when used regularly – to provide an additional benefit: that of cancer risk reduction. The…

A World Without Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C has been around for a long time; however, the virus was not scientifically identified until 1989. A few years later, the FDA approved the first treatment for this disease. This treatment, based on interferon, was the only treatment we could use at the time, but unfortunately did not provide high cure rates and…

PSA Test: Reconsidering the Recommendation

The prostate cancer screening test called PSA, which checks levels of the protein prostate-specific antigen, has a history checkered with controversy. The test can save lives, yet it has been long-known not to be perfect. For starters, there are an uncomfortable number of screening tests that turn out to be false positives, which leads to…

New Skin Cancer Drug Earns Fast-Tracked Approval

Skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer. Of the several varieties of skin cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma ranks as a more uncommon type, yet it’s aggressive and tends to grow quickly and can be hard to treat once it spreads beyond the skin. Recently, the FDA reviewed a potential new treatment for Merkel…

Hepatitis C Patient Education Series: What Should I Tell My Family?

A hepatitis C diagnosis often comes as a surprise to patients, considering that up to three out of four people with this virus don’t know they have it. It’s not that patients are ignoring their disease status, rather the issue is that 70-80% of people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms until the…

Dupixent Offers Skin Relief

A new specialty pharmacy medication for atopic dermatitis gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week. This injection medication, called Dupixent® (dupilumab), was developed in concert by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi. It’s the first and only biologic medicine for treating the more difficult cases of atopic dermatitis, which is more commonly known…

Imbruvica Continues to Shine

The medication Imbruvica® (ibrutinib) from AbbVie offers well-researched benefits for several blood cancers. Last month, my blog Potential New Medication for Lymphoma, shared how this medication was approved by the FDA in 2013 for mantle cell lymphoma, with approvals for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia coming in the following years. Now Imbruvica is undergoing…

Cancer Dangers from Excess Weight

Carrying around extra pounds presents clear health risks. In addition to the well-known connections between obesity and hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, excessive weight also increases the risk of at least 11 types of cancer. Cancer is currently a leading cause of death worldwide, yet worryingly the amount of people who are obese has more…

Blocking Hair Loss in Chemotherapy

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women worldwide, which means that many women will undergo treatment for this disease in their life. The commonly used chemotherapy for treating breast cancer is well-known for the side effect of hair loss. Research shows that cooling the scalp can help reduce the hair loss induced by…

Promising Outcome in Lung Cancer

For those with certain types of lung cancer, the oral medication Tagrisso® (osimertinib) shows promise. Tagrisso is a third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug developed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. This medication has been approved for non–small-cell lung cancer, specifically for cancers that have an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation called T790M. Lung…

The 2017 Hepatitis C Treatment Landscape

Last year, 2016, brought a whirlwind of changes and progress to the hepatitis C field, particularly when it comes to direct-acting antiviral medications. This included various drug approvals and access improvements for hepatitis C medications, including Daklinza, Epclusa, Sovaldi/velpatasvir, Viekira, and Zepatier. As we make our way deeper into 2017, this breakneck speed of new…

Understanding the Hepatitis C Testing Process

Many of your patients will likely need to be screened for hepatitis C, which means that they will have many questions during the testing process. This blog geared to patient education can help your patients understand each step of what can be a stressful time in their lives. Q: Do I really need to be…

Potential New Medication for Lymphoma

The medication Imbruvica® (ibrutinib) from AbbVie first gained FDA approval in 2013 for treating mantle cell lymphoma, then in 2014 the approval was expanded to include chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The next year, 2015, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia was added to the FDA approvals for this medication. Now, in 2017, Imbruvica has been granted an accelerated approval as…

Get Moving for GI Cancers

Finding an activity that one can do regularly – whether that’s walking, playing basketball, cycling, or anything else that raises heart rates and moves big muscle groups – brings health benefits in a variety of ways. Lowering the risk of cancer is one such benefit, particularly when it comes to breast and colon cancers (as…

HCV: Relapse or Reinfection?

Today’s hepatitis C medications offer extremely high cure rates. In fact, the few cases of a previously treated patient later testing positive for hepatitis C has some patients wondering “did I relapse or could I have been reinfected?” There are six different genotypes of the hepatitis C virus (as well as sub-genotypes). A first step…