Let’s Screen Everyone

Too many people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) simply don’t know their disease status. As many as one in four cases of HCV infection are undiagnosed, as I pointed out in a blog earlier this year (Finding the Missing Cases), even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. This…

Breaking Down Restrictions

For many years, the standard plan for treating hepatitis C infections called for excluding active drug users. Experts at the 5th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users who recently met in Oslo, aim to revise what is considered standard care. New research was discussed at the symposium, specifically a series of studies by…

Things are Getting Brighter

Cancer treatment and depression go hand-in-hand. In fact, this belief was previously so entrenched in the health care community that it was viewed as an unfortunate, yet unchangeable fact. Today – although depression remains a major challenge for cancer patients – there are now many effective depression treatments available to improve the quality of life…

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment Choices

Early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, studies show, pays off for patients in terms of long-term quality of life and a lower chance of later needing joint replacements. I can attest to this with a more personal perspective. Just yesterday I visited with my aunt who happens to have severe rheumatoid arthritis. For the past seven…

Finding the Missing Cases

As many as one in four cases of hepatitis C infection may miss the opportunity to be diagnosed – and this dire statistic is projected to happen even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. As a result, experts now urge new guidelines of universal screening. Where did these “missed cases”…

HCV Blues

By some estimates, depression is experienced by up to one in every three people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This is accounted for, in part, by the risk of depression that occurs in chronic, long-term diseases of all kinds. For hepatitis C specifically, depression remains a common yet underdiagnosed and undertreated complication. Understanding…

2016 World Hepatitis Day

The “Elimination” theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day – coming up on July 28, 2016 – highlights the vision of lessening the world burden of hepatitis. The organizers note that “Every action is an action towards elimination of viral hepatitis.” This theme is echoed by the first-ever establishment by the World Health Organization for…

Sticking Points

There are several ‘sticking points’ that get in the way of patients sticking with their prescribed treatment. In fact, medication nonadherence remains a key area of wasted health care resources. A recent article in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy points out that there are two types of medication nonadherence: Primary Nonadherence: when…

Extra Care Brings Impressive Results

Guest Blog by: Bridget Economou, RN, OCN Reflecting back on my time attending the 41st ONS (Oncology Nursing Society) Congress in San Antonio, Texas, I was particularly struck by the data in a poster presentation from Kentucky regarding oral adherence. Their conclusions about how a care team can positively impact patient adherence served as great…

Introducing Epclusa

The treatment options for hepatitis C infections just gained a member to the club. There are six genotypes (numbered 1-6) of the hepatitis C virus. Previously, hepatitis C medications generally worked best for only one or a few genotypes. Consequently, identifying a patient’s genotype was an important part of the treatment process in order to…

A Quicker Oncology Pipeline

Oncology treatment is serious business. Lives are at stake, which is why some oncology researchers advocate for a faster path from drug development to approval. The development of new therapies, for the past several decades, has followed a very clear, step-wise progression. First, there are phase 1 trials to establish a medication’s safety and dose….

Pharmacist-Led, Patient-Centered Care

The “usual care” for most patients with a chronic disease is management of the condition by a health care provider. A new model of chronic disease management might make more sense, at least for some patients. When a clinical pharmacist heads up the care team, patients actually show improved outcomes and better access to health…

Longevity After Hepatitis C Treatment

Before direct-acting antiviral medications came on the scene for treating hepatitis C, this disease was often a death sentence for patients who progressed to liver failure or liver cancer. However, over the past few years the newly available treatment options now mean that more than 90% of patients with hepatitis C can be cured of…

Turning Failure into Success

Hepatitis C treatment, just a few years ago, consisted of only a small handful of treatment options. Any patient who failed treatment was simply out of luck. Today, the treatment landscape has expanded to include multiple different direct-acting antiviral choices. This means a world of difference for patients. It is no longer necessarily a matter…

Talk Pays Off

Medication adherence continues to be an important topic in the health care world. Despite a greater understanding of the pitfalls surrounding patient adherence, there is still a far distance to go before the problem of adherence can be considered solved. To better understand barriers to adherence, a group of researchers examined adherence in low-income diabetes…

The Changing Face of Liver Cancer

Hepatitis C infections get a lot of bad press when it comes to liver cancer. While it is true that hepatitis C is a significant risk factor for liver cancer, there is another risk factor that is even more risky: metabolic disorders. In fact, new research just found that metabolic disorders are the number one…

Get Screened, Get Treated, Save Lives

New options in treating – and curing – almost all cases of hepatitis C infection have been cause for celebration over the past few years. Yet, this is not the time to let our guard down. Recently the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, which is a joint project from the…

An Inside Job

Immunotherapy as a cancer treatment, which is sometimes called biologic therapy, relies on the body’s immune defenses to stop cancer cell growth and spread, as well as uses elements of the immune system to destroy cancerous cells. Last year, as I explained in the blog, Lung Cancer: Immunotherapy Treatment Option, immunotherapy presents the possibility of…