Trending News Today: Cervical Cancer Death Rate Underestimated

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

Findings from a new study show the death rate from cervical cancer is significantly higher in the United States than previously estimated, and disparity among races in these estimates are significantly wider, according to The New York Times. Racial disparity has been noted in previous studies, and investigators believed it had narrowed because cervical cancer death rates for black women were declining. However, in the new study, the rate at which black women in the United States are dying from the disease is comparable to that of women in many poor developing nations, the Times reported. Experts are particularly alarmed by the findings because cervical cancer is largely preventable through screenings and follow-up monitoring. “This shows that our disparities are even worse than we feared,” Dr Kathleen M. Schmeler, associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Times. “We have screenings that are great, but many women in America are not getting them. And now I have even more concerns going forward with the expected repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which covers screening, and the closing of family planning clinics, which do must of that screening.”

Merck & Co settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical over its cancer drug Keytruda, according to The Wall Street Journal. Merck will pay $625 million plus royalties on Keytruda sales to the 2 companies. The lawsuit alleged that the cancer drug violated their patent for the method of immunotherapy, the Journal reported.

As President Donald Trump works to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, his new proposed health plan would convert Medicaid to block grants, The New York Times reported. The plan would give each state a fixed amount of federal money in the form of a block grant to provide health care to low-income Medicaid enrollees. In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Trump’s White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that converting Medicaid to a block grant would ensure that those closest to people in need will be administering the program, according to the Times.