Trending News Today: Income Level Influences Lung Cancer Survival

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

The FDA is taking major steps to redefine its classification of “healthy,” reported The Wall Street Journal. As the FDA begins its review of the 1990s official definition, they will ask both the public and food experts to comment on what they believe the modern definition of “healthy” should be. Although this process could take many years to complete, it’s a major step in changing the ideas of health and healthy eating habits.

A new prostate cancer test can determine if tumors are lethal or harmless, reducing detection and treatment. According to The Wall Street Journal, Prolaris is one of several genetic prostate cancer tests that takes a patient’s biopsy sample to calculate their risk of death from the tumor. After Al Piazza was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his doctor preformed the Prolaris test on him, calculating only a 3% chance of mortality over the next 10 years if the tumor was left untreated. Over the last 4 years, Piazza’s cancer has been monitored regularly, “My feeling is—it’s there, but it’s not going to kill me,” Piazza said.

A recent study revealed that African American patients with non-small cell lung cancer who live in low income and segregated neighborhoods were less likely to receive surgery compared with peers living in wealthier communities. In the study, black patients living in the most segregated areas were 60% less likely to receive surgery, and a larger amount of black patients died compared with white patients, reported The Washington Post. Furthermore, black patients commonly had fewer months of survival after their diagnosis. “The poor outcomes we frequently observe in black patients are likely due to a variety of patient-, provider- and system-level factors,” said Caitlin Murphy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This study adds to our knowledge of how the larger neighborhood context may also influence the receipt of quality cancer care.”