Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.
Although there are several reasons people shy away from getting tested for colorectal cancer, cost is still the number one factor, and pricey follow-up colonoscopies can be a huge deterrent for patients. According to Kaiser Health News, cancer screenings recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force are covered by commercial insurers and the Medicare program. But for individuals who receive positive test results and need a follow-up colonoscopy, Medicare still considers these to be diagnostic, and patients are responsible for any deductible and coinsurance charges. Patient advocates have argued that the follow-up colonoscopy should be given without cost sharing by patients, reported Kaiser. Although some private insurers are starting to do this, Medicare is not, and patient advocates are continuing to lobby for a change in policy.
New research has found that 3 existing drugs used to treat hepatitis C, parasitic infections, and cancer, showed promise against the Zika virus, reported The Washington Post. During the experiment, researchers used lab-grown cells in a petri dishes, and found that some of the compounds that were tested allowed cells to live longer in the face of the virus and, in some cases, fully recover from them. Although the findings show promise, researchers noted that this is only a very preliminary step towards a treatment for Zika. The next steps will involve testing the drugs in animal models to see if the results can be replicated and, if so, researchers will move on to trying to test the efficacy in humans, according to the Post. The 3 drugs identified for the study were PHA-690509, emricasan, and niclosamide.
A new study revealed that the degree of risk for colorectal cancer in Latinos is dependent on the individual’s heritage, reported The Washington Post. Researchers examined Latinos based on their family’s place of origin and found that the rates of colorectal cancer in Florida were twice as high for Cuban and Puerto Rican men than for Mexican men, while Mexican men had a lower incidence of prostate cancer than Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Authors noted that some reasons for these variations include that Puerto Ricans and Cubans are more likely to have African ancestry, while Mexicans have more Native American roots. Furthermore, these genealogical differences, as well as different diets and lifestyle, all influence cancer risk. “Because of the diversity within Latinos, we have to understand the diversity so that we can really provide precision medicine to Latinos, as well as other racial groups,” said study co-author Mariana Stern in the report.