Trending News Today: Breast Cancer Drug May Work Just as Well with Briefer Treatment

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A new study finds that treating breast cancer with the drug Herceptin may work just as well with a briefer treatment regimen and reduce adverse effects, NPR reported. In a study of more than 4000 women, the study authors determined that women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer did just as well with 6 months of treatment with Herceptin as did women who received a 12-month treatment course. According to the article, benefits of shorter treatment would be reduced costs and fewer adverse effects, such as less damage to the heart.

Vermont has become the first US state to permit the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, according to The Hill. Proponents of the law believe it will help fight rising drug prices, the article reported. Eight states proposed similar legislation this year, but Vermont’s is the first to be signed into law, according to the article. The law must still be certified by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Less than 2% of eligible current and former smokers have sought free lung scans, the Associated Press reported. The scans, which typically cost $100 to $250, are free for those who meet the criteria, but individuals must have a special appointment to discuss risks and benefits with a physician, the article reported. Experts indicated that possible explanations as to why screening rates are so low include worries about false alarms and follow-up tests, a physician visit to get the scans covered, fear and denial of the consequences of smoking, and little knowledge that screening exists.