Jun 5 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: June 5

Lower Income Cancer Patients Less Likely to Enter Clinical Trials

Cancer patients with annual household incomes below $50,000 are less likely to participate in clinical trials than patients with annual incomes of $50,000 or higher, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology this week.

The study surveyed 5,499 patients and found that 7.6 percent with an annual income below $50,000 reported participating in clinical trials, while 10.0 percent of those with incomes of $50,000 or more said they took part.

The researchers found that lower income patients were more likely to be concerned about how to pay for the care they would receive as part of a clinical trial. Researchers say lower income patients may be more affected by the indirect costs of a clinical trial such as having to take time off work for a clinic visit. Read more on access to health care.

Many Mothers Fall Short of Personal Goals for Breastfeeding

A new study in Pediatrics finds that many mothers plan to breastfeed for at least three months, but only one-third do. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that mothers breast-feed exclusively for about the first six months of their infant’s life. Read more on maternal and infant health.

Antidepressant Relieves Pain of Common Chemotherapy Side Effect

A clinical trial conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that the antidepressant drug Cymbalta helps relieve peripheral neuropathy, tingling in the toes, feet, fingers and hands, a very common chemotherapy side effect of several widely used cancer drugs. Over half of patients in the trial who received the drug reported pain relief. The researchers say this was the first clinical trial to find an effective treatment for this pain, and that the finding is important because physicians sometimes limit chemotherapy because of the neuropathy. Read more on cancer.

Tags: Access to Health Care, Cancer, Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups