Category Archives: Cancer

Mar 20 2014
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Oncologist Shortage Could Put Cancer Care in Critical Condition by 2025

Nearly 450,000 new cancer patients are likely to have difficulty accessing oncology care in just over a decade, according to a report, “The State of Cancer Care in America: 2014,” released this month by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The report is described by ASCO as the first-ever comprehensive assessment of challenges facing the U.S. cancer care system. It projects that new cancer cases could increase by 42 percent by 2025, but the number of oncologists will likely grow by only 28 percent, creating a deficit of nearly 1,500 physicians.

“We’re facing a collection of challenges, each one of which could keep cancer treatment advances out of reach for some individuals,” ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, said in a news release. “Collectively, they are a serious threat to the nation’s cancer care system, which already is straining to keep up with the needs of an aging population.”

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Mar 20 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: ADHD medication, reconstruction after mastectomy, care for returning veterans, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

NBC News reports on a surge in the number of young adult women taking ADHD medication. An RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient, Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, explains that the rise in diagnoses among women in that age group may be evidence of failure to recognize the problem when the women were children. They may not have manifested symptoms as visibly as their male classmates with ADHD did, turning their distress inward rather than misbehaving in class, for example.

“How people with mental disorders are viewed by treatment providers and the general public can have a significant impact on treatment outcomes and the quality of life of clients,” Jennifer Stuber, PhD, and colleagues write in a study reported by Health Canal. The researchers presented vignettes about people with mental health problems to mental health providers and the general public, and compared their reactions. Providers had more positive attitudes, but some held views about the danger such patients might pose in the workplace that the researchers called “concerning.” Stuber is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna.

More women are having breast reconstruction after mastectomies, USA Today reports. As a result of a 1998 federal law, most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies also cover breast reconstruction. Researchers found that the share of women who received reconstruction after mastectomy rose from 46 percent to 63 percent between 1998 and 2007. Author Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, an RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna, says the law could be contributing to the increase. The study was also covered by 9 News (Denver) and WKYC.com (Cleveland), among other outlets.

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Jan 23 2014
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Human Capital News Roundup: Cost of childbirth, underuse of nurse practitioners, obesity through economic lens, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Recent progress in preventing and treating cancer is not fully reflected in declining death rates from the disease, because improving survival rates for other diseases have resulted in longer lifespans, giving people more years during which cancer may strike. This is the key finding from a study by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Samir Soneji, PhD. HealthDay reports on Soneji’s research.

A study by Renee Hsia, MD, an RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars program alumna, examines childbirth costs at hospitals throughout California. Hsia found that costs for vaginal deliveries without complications range from $3,296 to $37,277. “The market doesn’t work and the system doesn’t regulate it, so hospitals can charge what they want,” she told the Boston Globe.

Having an incarcerated family member could lead to negative health outcomes, especially for women, according to a study carried by Medpage Today. RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna Hedwig Lee, PhD, found that for women, having an incarcerated family member was associated with an increased likelihood of self-reported diabetes, hypertension, heart attack or stroke, obesity, and fair or poor health.

Many health care providers are not making full use of nurse practitioners (NPs), partly due to the limitations of electronic health records (EHRs) and billing software, according a study from Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, MPH, RN, reports EHR Intelligence. Poghosyan, an RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar, concluded that because such software fails to recognize NPs as providers of record, it restricts their access to patient data and does not accurately reflect their role in patient care.

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Aug 15 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Brain cell regeneration, malpractice concerns, reducing drug overdose-related deaths, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

Newly licensed registered nurses who experience high or moderate levels of verbal abuse by physicians have less favorable perceptions of their work environments, lower intent to stay in their jobs, and lower commitment to their organizations, according to a study by the RWJF-supported RN Work Project. Health Leaders Media, Becker’s Hospital Review and Medical XPress are among the outlets to report on the findings. Learn more about the study.

Can social media accurately measure public opinion and be a good indicator of how people will vote? Research co-authored by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Fabio Rojas, PhD, finds a strong correlation between how often a candidate is mentioned in tweets—regardless of what is said about him or her—and that candidate’s final share of the vote. The researcher team’s data predicted the winner in 404 out of 406 competitive races using data from 2010, Rojas writes in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

Physicians who worry about malpractice lawsuits order more diagnostic tests and refer patients to the emergency room more often than other physicians, according to a study co-authored by RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient Michelle M. Mello, JD, PhD, MPhil. The result is higher medical costs for patients, MarketWatch reports.

The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) reports on a study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Margaret Sheridan, PhD, that finds that a mother's perceived social status affects her child's brain development and stress indicators. “Our results indicate that a mother's perception of her social status 'lives' biologically in her children,” Sheridan said.

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Aug 1 2013
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Human Capital Network: Weight gain and depression in adolescent girls, talking about genetic markers for cancer, the cost of diapers, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Maria Katapodi, PhD, RN, FAAN, has developed a program to help women at high genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer share the news with family members, who might also be at risk,  AnnArbor.com reports. The “Family Gene Toolkit” program pairs patients with a genetic counselor and an oncology nurse to discuss how and why to reveal the results of a positive genetic test to family members.

A study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Rebecca Thurston, PhD, finds that menopausal women tend to underestimate how often they have hot flashes and night sweats, Medical XPress reports. Treatment for these "vasomotor" symptoms (VMS) is tailored to patients’ self-reported data, meaning the current approach may be underestimating the burden on women. “While very common in menopausal women, hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt a woman's quality of life significantly,” Thurston said. “In order to test new treatments, we need to be sure we are assessing a woman's VMS as accurately as possible.”

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Cynthia Crone, MNSc, APN, CPNP, spoke to the Kansas City Star about a $24 million outreach effort underway in Arkansas to inform residents about how to sign up for coverage in the state’s insurance marketplace, when open enrollment begins October 1. Crone leads the Arkansas Insurance Department's Health Benefits Exchange Partnership division.

In discussing Medicare’s new hospital-payment system that takes patient satisfaction scores into account, Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, an RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar, wrote in the New Yorker: “Though there are several factors informing the general likability of physicians beyond how we feel about what they tell us, there is no reason to assume we would be somehow immune to this cognitive bias when it comes time to rate them.”

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Jul 9 2013
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Recent Research About Nursing, July 2013

This is part of the July 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

NP-Doctor Co-Management of Geriatric Cases Leads to Improved Outcomes

New research finds that geriatric patients with chronic conditions may have better outcomes if their cases are co-managed by a nurse practitioner (NP) and a physician than by a physician alone.

David Reuben, MD, chief of the Geriatrics Division in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports on the research leading to that conclusion in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Reuben and colleagues studied the cases of 485 patients who had one of four chronic conditions: falls; urinary incontinence (UI); dementia/Alzheimer's disease; or depression. Some of their cases were managed by doctors alone, and others were co-managed by doctors and NPs.

The researchers then examined individual patients' charts, assessing the quality of their care using several specific quality indicators. They found that patients whose cases were co-managed generally had better care, and significantly better care for some conditions. "Quality scores for all conditions (falls, 80 percent vs. 34 percent; UI, 66 percent vs. 19 percent; dementia, 59 percent vs. 38 percent) except depression (63 percent vs. 60 percent) were higher for individuals who saw a NP," they wrote.

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Jun 6 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Nurse PhD scientists, shared decision making, mammogram guidelines, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

RWJF this week launched the Future of Nursing Scholars program, a $20-million initiative to support some of the country’s best and brightest nurses as they pursue PhDs. The program will provide scholarships, stipends, mentoring, leadership development, and dedicated post-doctoral research support, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, RWJF senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group, said: “The PhD-prepared nurses the Future of Nursing Scholars program supports will help identify solutions to the country’s most pressing health problems, and educate thousands of nurses over the course of their careers.” Read more about the program.

Patients who are involved in their care spend more time in the hospital and increase the cost of their hospital stays, compared to patients who delegate medical decisions to their doctors, according to a study led by David Meltzer, MD, PhD. Meltzer is an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program, and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. Among the outlets to report on the findings: HealthDay, Time Magazine’s Healthland blog, United Press International, and Modern Healthcare.

A study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jodi Ford, PhD, RN, finds that having lived in a poor neighborhood as a teen—even if the teen’s family wasn’t poor—increases the risk of having chlamydia in young adulthood by 25 percent, compared to teenagers living in wealthier settings, Science Daily reports.

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May 2 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Medication errors affecting children with cancer, particulate matter, the needs of urban communities, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

CBS Evening News profiled RWJF Community Health Leader Roseanna Means, MD, who founded the nonprofit Women of Means in 1988 to provide free medical care to homeless women in the Boston area. Today, 16 volunteer doctors and staff nurses provide care at the city’s shelters to women with unique sensitivities and needs. Read a post Means wrote about her nonprofit for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

A study led by RWJF Clinical Scholars alumnus Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, finds more than 40 percent of American parents give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under age 4, despite product label warnings to the contrary. Health Day and the Examiner report on the findings.

Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, an alumna of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, is the lead author of an analysis that concludes social determinants—rather than changes in the environment or flawed diagnostic criteria—help explain the dramatic rise in the number of Americans diagnosed with mental disorders in recent years. Health Canal and MedPage Today report on the findings.

Forty-seven percent of children with cancer who receive part of their treatment at home have been exposed to at least one medication error, according to a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Kathleen E. Walsh, MD, MSc. Those errors had the potential to harm 36 per 100 patients, and actually did cause injury to four per 100, MedPage Today reports.

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Apr 11 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Lead exposure from soil, breast cancer mortality, climate change, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Asthmapolis, founded and directed by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus David Van Sickle, PhD, MA, has secured a $5 million investment that will be used to expand operations and further enhance its product, the Milwaukee Business Journal  and Journal-Sentinel report. The company has engineered a GPS-enabled asthma inhaler called the Spiroscout, which sends a signal with the time and location to a remote server every time a patient uses it, allowing patients and providers to track and analyze the onset of asthma symptoms. Read more about Asthmapolis here and here.

Health & Society Scholar Sammy Zahran, PhD, is co-author of a study that finds that children in Detroit are being exposed to lead from an overlooked source: contaminated soil. Zahran and his team examined seasonal fluctuations in children’s blood lead levels and found that levels were highest in the summertime, when contaminated soil turns into airborne dust. The researchers were able to rule out exposure to lead-based paint as the main source of the contamination, NPR’s Shots Blog reports, because blood lead levels were lower in the winter, when children are more likely to be indoors.

A study from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, which is directed by RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research recipient Edward W. Maibach, PhD, MPH, finds a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents think action should be taken to address climate change, United Press International reports. The New York Times Dot Earth Blog also reported on the findings.

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Mar 15 2013
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Confusion Reigns: Cutting Through the Overload of Information on Cancer Prevention

Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, is an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program at the University of Wisconsin.

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For the past 10 years or so, my colleagues and I have been studying how Americans make sense of public information about the causes of cancer and ways to prevent it. This has brought both good and bad news.

First the bad (and perhaps not surprising) news: many Americans are overloaded with information about cancer prevention and feel powerless about what they can do to prevent it. According to national surveys, one in four say there’s not much a person can do to reduce their risk of cancer, half feel that almost everything causes cancer, and three in four think there are too many recommendations to know which ones to follow. People who hold these beliefs are less likely than those who do not to engage in behaviors that we know reduce their risk of cancer – avoiding smoking and sunburn, eating a diet rich with fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. These beliefs thus appear to have troubling consequences for broader efforts to reduce the rate of cancer in the U.S. through primary prevention.

In many ways, these feelings are understandable – it IS confusing. Cancer is not a single disease, but hundreds of them affecting different organs in the body, with different causes, different tests to screen for them, different treatments, and different prognoses. By some estimates, half of all cancer cases have an unknown cause. Cancer research moves slowly and incrementally, but increasingly publicly – one study might suggest that coffee causes cancer, while another points to its preventive potential. Science requires a back-and-forth between scientists as they sort out what findings hold up and which ones prove only preliminary. This process is absolutely necessary, but can offer a false sense of hope or opportunity if appropriate caveats aren’t offered in early stages of this work, or if preliminary results are publicized widely through the media.

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