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Lung Cancer Survival Continues to Improve, But Not for All

Lung cancer survival rates in the United States continue to rise, but certain racial groups are still hit hard by the disease, the American Lung Association reports.

Its fourth annual "State of Lung Cancer" report shows that the average five-year survival rate increased from 14.5% to nearly 24%, but it remains at 20% for people of color overall, and 18% for Black Americans.

"The rep...

50 Years On, Real Progress in War Against Cancer

Since 1971, when the U.S. government made defeating cancer a goal and put major funding behind it, death rates for many cancers have plummeted, but some are increasing, according to a new American Cancer Society report.

Death rates for all cancers combined have declined since passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, according to the report. For example, in 2019, deaths from lung c...

Study Compares Bypass, Stenting for Patients With Severe Heart Disease

Bypass surgery is slightly better overall than stenting to open blocked arteries in people with severe coronary artery disease, new research shows.

But decisions may still need to be made on a case-by-case basis: Stenting appeared more beneficial in some patients, particularly if they didn't have complex disease.

The findings should help guide decisions about which treatment is best...

More Lung Cancer Patients Are Surviving, Thriving

Mike Smith is beating the odds.

Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer back in 2016, the 56-year-old South Carolina resident says there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic as the "narrative of lung cancer changes from being a horrific, terminal disease to a chronic disease and, ultimately, to a cure."

Still, he remains clear-eyed about the challenges he faces.

"I'm at war," he s...

Younger Age Doesn't Boost Survival With Advanced Colon Cancer

Younger patients with advanced colon cancer don't live longer than older patients, but it's unclear why, researchers say.

The authors of the new study said they were surprised by the findings, which come as colon cancer rates are on the rise among young Americans.

"As a group, younger patients are more physically active and have higher performance status and are better able to perfo...

One Big Factor for Survival After Spinal Cord Injury: Resilience

Survivors of spinal cord injuries who develop resilience are able to adapt and thrive despite the challenges, according to a researcher who himself is a resilient survivor.

"For someone with a cord injury, your margin for surviving even small mistakes when it comes to your health is really thin," said James Krause, professor and associate dean for research in the Medical University of Sou...

Heart Defibs in Schools Are Saving Staff Lives: Study

Adult staff in schools are more likely than students to suffer sudden cardiac arrest, but automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are often used and improve the chances of survival, a new study finds.

AEDs are portable devices that deliver an electric shock to try and restart the heart. If appropriate action isn't taken immediately, cardiac arrest is often fatal.

"Most research on ...

More Than Half of COVID-19 Survivors Will Get 'Long COVID'

Long-term symptoms of coronavirus infection, known as 'long COVID,' affects more than half of COVID-19 survivors, and health care systems should be prepared to treat them, researchers say.

So far, 236 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and many have had lingering physical and mental health problems for six months or longer.

"The burden of poor health in COV...

Minorities Bore the Brunt of U.S. COVID Deaths: Study

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has hit minority groups in the United States hard, with significantly more deaths among Black and Hispanic Americans compared with white and Asian Americans, a new study finds.

According to the report, these disparities highlight the need to address ongoing inequities influencing health and longevity in the United States.

What's more, "focusing on CO...

Racial Disparities Persist With Childhood Cancers

Black kids and Hispanic kids with cancer fare worse than their white counterparts, a large, nationwide study finds.

"This study suggests that improving health insurance coverage and access to care for children, especially those with low [socioeconomic status], may reduce racial/ethnic survival disparities," Jingxuan Zhao, an associate scientist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, a...

Shape, Size of Brain Arteries May Predict Stroke Risk

The size and shape of the blood vessels in your brain may help predict your risk of an often-fatal type of stroke, called an aneurysm, a new study finds.

An aneurysm is a bulge in an artery wall.

"A subarachnoid hemorrhage is the most dangerous type of stroke and occurs when a brain aneurysm leaks or ruptures, causing bleeding into the brain, killing more than 50% of affected peop...

When Cardiac Arrest Strikes, Survival Odds Are Better at Airports

If you have a cardiac arrest, your odds of survival are best in an airport or airplane, a new study finds.

That's because automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are readily available and so are people ready to help, researchers explained.

"Our findings emphasize that cardiac arrest in travelers is survivable and that early resuscitation interventions matter," said lead researcher ...

People With MS Have Worse Survival If Colon Cancer Strikes

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients diagnosed with colon cancer may have a greater risk of dying from cancer or other causes in the next six months to year than colon cancer patients without MS, a Canadian study finds.

"These results warrant further investigation to determine what factors may lead to shorter survival times," said study author Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, a professor of neurology at ...

1 in 500 Americans Has Died From COVID-19

One out of every 500 U.S. residents has lost their lives to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic last year, statistics show.

COVID has killed more than 664,500 people in the United States as of Wednesday, according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins University.

That's out of a total U.S. population of 331.4 million cited by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The risk of dying from C...

After an ICU Stay, Social Support Crucial for Seniors' Survival

Older adults who are socially isolated are more likely to experience serious disability or die after a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU), new research reveals.

"This important research finding sheds light on a crucial health care issue that has become more dire during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore....

Daily Coffee May Protect the Heart

The latest buzz on coffee? It may be good for your heart, a new, large study suggests.

Drinking light to moderate amounts -- up to three cups a day -- may lower the risk of stroke, fatal heart disease and all-cause death, researchers found.

"Regular coffee consumption of up to three cups per day is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and str...

Fewer American Adults Are Getting Malignant Brain Tumors

Malignant brain tumor rates are declining among U.S. adults, but patients still have a low chance of survival, a new study finds.

The researchers also found that rates of noncancerous tumors are on the rise, likely due to increased awareness and improvements in diagnosis.

"Although the molecular understanding of how brain cancers differ from each other is advancing rapidly, we conti...

Longer, Worse COVID Leaves Stronger Antibodies: Study

Survivors of severe or long COVID-19 could have greater antibody protection against future infection than those whose illness was shorter or milder, new research suggests.

For the study, a Rutgers University team followed 548 health care workers and 283 other workers from the start of the pandemic. Within six months, 93 (11%) of them tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 or for antibodies agains...

No Lasting Lung Damage After Full Recovery From COVID-19

If you suffered a bout of COVID-19 and your lungs took a beating, new research has reassuring news: You will likely be spared long-term respiratory damage.

Scientists looked at COVID-19 survivors who had asymptomatic, moderate or severe COVID-19 infections and also underwent unrelated elective lung operations (for example, to treat lung nodules or lung cancer) at some point after they rec...

Dexamethasone Can Help the Sickest COVID Patients Survive. So Why Are Too Few Getting It?

There's strong evidence that the steroid drug dexamethasone can significantly lower hospitalized patients' risk of dying from COVID-19, but many who might benefit from it the most aren't getting it.

"Dexamethasone is a steroid that is used for the treatment of arthritis, inflammation and allergic reactions," explained Hemalkumar Mehta, who studied its use in treating COVID-19 patients. He...

Need a New Liver? Your Survival Odds May Depend on Race

Black American liver transplant recipients have a lower survival rate than Hispanic or white patients, and a new study suggests that alcohol-related liver disease and insurance coverage are key reasons.

"Our findings are a huge wake-up call that physicians and other health care professionals need to do better in delivering equitable care," said study leader Dr. Brian Lee, a liver transpla...

Daily Half-Hour Walk Can Greatly Boost Survival After Stroke

After a stroke, survivors can greatly increase their odds for many more years of life through activities as easy as a half-hour's stroll each day, new research shows.

The nearly five-year-long Canadian study found that stroke survivors who walked or gardened at least three to four hours a week (about 30 minutes a day), cycled at least two to three hours per week, or got an equivalent amou...

Where You Live Could Predict Your Survival After Heart Attack

There are many factors that affect your longevity after experiencing a heart attack. And now, new research finds that your neighborhood could play a key role in your long-term survival.

The researchers found that patients in poorer neighborhoods had a lower chance of survival over five years, and that Black patients in those neighborhoods had a lower chance than white patients.

"Thi...

Long-Term Outlook for Most With Serious Brain Injury Is Better Than Thought

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cripple patients for the rest of their lives, but new research suggests that many people with moderate-to-severe TBI have better-than-expected long-term outcomes.

The findings show that decisions about halting life-sustaining treatment for these patients should not be made in the first days after the injury, the researchers said.

"TBI is a life-cha...

COVID Drove Biggest Drop in U.S. Life Expectancy Since World War II

Exactly how deadly has the coronavirus pandemic been in the United States? New research confirms it has had a big hand in slashing life expectancy by a year and a half.

That's the lowest level of life expectancy since 2003 and the largest one-year decline since World War II, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"This was a very serious event. I...

Long Distance to Care Can Mean Worse Outcomes for Young Cancer Patients

Teens and young adults with cancer who live in rural areas or far from the hospital where they were diagnosed are more likely to have advanced cancer and more likely to die, new research shows.

"A number of studies have indicated that place of residence can influence cancer survival; however, few studies have specifically focused on geographic factors and outcomes in adolescents and young...

Obese Men May Have Better Survival With Advanced Prostate Cancer

When men have advanced prostate cancer, obesity might offer something of a survival advantage, a preliminary study suggests.

Researchers in Italy found that among men with prostate cancer that had spread throughout the body, those who were obese were less likely to die over the next few years.

Roughly 30% were still alive after three years, versus 20% of normal-weight and overweight...

Gap in Breast Cancer Survival for Black, White Patients Shrinks, But Not by Enough

Racial disparities in breast cancer survival have narrowed in recent years, but Black women with the disease still have double the death rate of white women.

That's according to a study that tracked breast cancer trends in Florida between 1990 and 2015. Overall, deaths from the disease declined among Black, Hispanic and white women alike -- with the improvement being greater among minorit...

Sleep, Exercise & Your Odds for a Long, Healthy Life

Poor quality sleep can shave years off your life, and these effects may be magnified if you don't get enough physical activity.

That's the bad news. The good news is that getting more exercise may help counter some of the health risks known to accompany poor quality sleep, new research shows.

Folks who scored low in both sleep and exercise categories were 57% more likely to die from...

COVID Caused Biggest Drop in U.S. Life Expectancy Since World War II

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the largest decline in U.S. life expectancy since World War II, a new study finds.

Between 2018 and 2020, overall life expectancy in the United States fell by 1.87 years.

But there were significant racial differences. Life expectancy fell 1.36 years among whites, 3.25 years among Blacks and 3.88 years among Hispanics, researchers say.

The decre...

Survivors' Plasma Helps Blood Cancer Patients Battle COVID-19

Giving COVID-19 survivors' blood plasma to blood cancer patients hospitalized with COVID-19 significantly improves their chances of survival, a new study finds.

"These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help COVID-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it may also help patients with other illnesses who have weakened antibody responses to th...

Old Age No Bar to Successful Heart Transplant, Study Finds

People over 70 are far less likely to be considered for or to receive a new heart -- even though new research suggests their survival rates after transplant are similar to those of younger patients.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on more than 57,000 adults (aged 18 and older) listed as heart transplant surgery candidates in the United States between January 2000 and August 2...

Newly Approved Drug Fights Lung Cancer Tied to Certain Genes

A newly approved lung cancer drug shows promise in improving survival in patients whose tumors carry a common and tough-to-treat genetic mutation, researchers say.

Sotorasib - brand name Lumakras - was approved May 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a targeted therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients with tumors that express the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene, ...

Don't Delay Lung Cancer Surgery, Study Suggests

Surgery soon after a diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer is crucial in reducing the risk of recurrence and death, a new study finds.

"Patients with early-stage cancer have the best chance for survival," said senior author Dr. Varun Puri, a thoracic surgeon and professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "That's why it's critical for patients to promptly...

As Medicaid Access Expands, So Does Cancer Survival

More lower-income Americans are surviving cancer due to expanded Medicaid health care coverage, a new study shows.

Researchers found a link between long-term survival of patients newly diagnosed with cancer -- across all stages and types of the disease -- and expanded Medicaid income eligibility. In other words, survival odds improved in states that granted Medicaid coverage at high...

When Cancer Strikes Those Under 40, Race Matters

Young Black and Hispanic cancer patients face poorer survival odds than their white counterparts, even from some cancers that are highly curable, a new study finds.

It's well known that the United States has long-standing racial disparities in cancer survival.

The researchers said the new findings bolster evidence that those disparities are not confined to older adults, who account...

Breast Cancer Over 70: How Much Treatment Is Enough?

Many women older than 70 can safely receive fewer treatments for early-stage breast cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that adding lymph node removal or radiation to women's treatment did not seem to cut their risk of a breast cancer recurrence, which was low overall.

The findings, experts said, support existing recommendations to "de-escalate" those procedures for many...

New Hope Against a Rare but Incurable Eye Cancer

A cutting-edge experimental drug cuts nearly in half the risk of death among patients with a rare but aggressive cancer of the eye, new clinical trial data show.

Tebentafusp has now become the first drug shown to improve overall survival in patients with uveal melanoma, said Dr. Antoni Ribas, immediate past president of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), in a

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 20, 2021
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  • Full Page
  • In Breast Cancer Survivors, Obesity Raises Odds for Cancer's Return

    Most people know obesity can lead to diabetes or heart disease, but excess weight can play a role in cancer, too, researchers say.

    A new study found that breast cancer survivors who are overweight have a statistically significant increased risk of developing a second primary cancer - one not connected to their previous cancer.

    The risk likely owes to shared risk factors between the ...

    Even Before COVID, Many More People Died Early in U.S. Versus Europe

    Americans were living shorter lives and dying at a significantly higher rate than the citizens of wealthy European countries even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a new study reports.

    The United States suffered more than 400,000 excess deaths in 2017 alone, pre-COVID, compared to the combined populations of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Wales, said senior researcher Samue...

    Surgery Can Boost Outcomes After Chemo for People With Pancreatic Cancer

    Even in patients with stage 2 pancreatic cancer, surgery is typically worthwhile after chemotherapy, because it appears to extend patients' lives, a new study concludes.

    In stage 2 cancer, the tumor has already grown large enough to be close to vessels that supply blood to nearby organs, such as the liver or intestines.

    That can complicate surgeries and cause doctors to hesitate go...

    'Couch Potato' Lifestyles Cause Up to 8% of Global Deaths: Study

    "Couch potatoes," take note: Sedentary behavior now accounts for up to 8% of non-communicable diseases and deaths worldwide, researchers say.

    Physical inactivity is a known risk factor for premature death and several non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and several cancers.

    In a new study, researchers analyzed 2016 da...

    Cancer Survivors May Face Higher Odds for Heart Trouble

    Cancer survivors, especially older ones, have an increased risk of heart disease over the next decade, a new study finds.

    Ohio State University researchers analyzed data from more than 15,000 U.S. adults, aged 40 to 79, who were followed from 2007 to 2016. At the start of the study period, 13% reported a history of cancer but none had a history of heart disease.

    Over the next decade...

    Global Warming Could Make Survival in Tropics Impossible: Study

    Limiting global warming to targets proposed in the Paris Agreement could keep tropical regions from reaching temperatures that are beyond human tolerability, a new study projects.

    Researchers estimate that if countries are able to cap warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the tropics will be spared temperatures that surpass the "survival limit." But life in the worl...

    Patients With Sickle Cell Disease Often Overlooked for Life-Saving Kidney Transplants

    People with kidney failure related to sickle cell disease are less likely to receive a transplant than those without sickle cell disease, but it could be life-saving for them, a new study finds.

    Sickle cell disease is a risk factor for kidney failure, and adults with sickle cell-related kidney failure who are on long-term dialysis have high rates of early death.

    Kidney transplant is...

    Vaccinating Oldest First for COVID Saves the Most Lives: Study

    Putting the oldest people near the front of the line for COVID-19 shots will save more lives and may extend their lifespan, too, researchers say.

    The new study findings challenge the view that older people should be lower on the list for shots because they have a shorter life expectancy, according to the team from the University of California, Berkeley.

    "Since older age is accompani...

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Meds May Help Fight Severe COVID-19

    Rheumatoid arthritis drugs may save lives of patients hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19, according to a groundbreaking clinical trial.

    The findings, first announced in January, have now been peer-reviewed and published in a major medical journal.

    "We are delighted that our full results are now published after peer review. This confirms the robustness of our findings, that t...

    From Sourdough to Sacrifice, How COVID Is Changing Americans' Values

    As the COVID-19 pandemic transformed everyday lives in 2020, Americans began dwelling on a few key topics, sourdough bread among them.

    But we were also tweeting about and researching sacrifice, survival and death, according to new research on online trends.

    Researchers analyzed how Google searches and the phrasing of a half-billion words and phrases on Twitter, blogs and internet fo...

    COVID-19 Caused U.S. Life Expectancy to Drop by 1 Full Year

    In a sign that the coronavirus pandemic is cutting short the lives of Americans, a new government report finds that average life expectancy in the United States took a drastic plunge during the first half of 2020, particularly among Black and Hispanic people.

    Overall U.S. life expectancy dropped to 77.8 years, down one full year from the 78.8 years estimated in 2019.

    Declines were e...

    Drug Combo May Boost Survival for Tough-to-Treat Liver Cancers

    A new drug combination for advanced liver cancer can extend people's lives substantially more than the long-standing drug of choice, new study findings confirm.

    The treatment involves two drugs approved to fight various cancers: bevacizumab (Avastin) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq). Avastin, an intravenous (IV) drug, starves tumors by preventing new blood vessel growth.

    Tecentriq, also...