Cancer

8:35am

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

How To Avoid A Colonoscopy Billing Kerfuffle

Before your doctor gets to this, make sure he'll bill the colonoscopy as a screening test rather than a diagnostic one.
Sebastian Schroeder iStockphoto.com

Where preventive health care is concerned, a colonoscopy is one of the pricier screening tests, with a cost that often exceeds $1,000.

But under the health care overhaul, most health insurance plans have to cover the test for colorectal cancer without billing patients a dime, even if a polyp is found and removed.

Yet the way your doctor categorizes the test can make all the difference.

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11:08am

Thu March 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

'Love Your Butt' Campaign Tries To Conquer Colonoscopy Fears

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 11:50 am

Cute it may be. But will it convince you to get a colonoscopy?
loveyourbutt.org

The billboard in Washington, D.C.'s Metro stopped me in my tracks on the way to work: "Love Your Patooty."

An advertisement for yoga pants? Padded chairs? No.

Closer examination revealed it was encouraging me to get a colonoscopy.

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1:41am

Thu March 28, 2013
Planet Money

When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:03 am

Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.

"I was rather stunned," Dr. Leonard Saltz, who specializes in colorectal cancer, told me.

Zaltrap costs about $11,000 per month — about twice as much as Avastin, Saltz said.

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11:20am

Wed March 27, 2013
Shots - Health News

Catalog Of Gene Markers For Some Cancers Doubles In Size

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:41 am

A microscopic image of prostate cancer. Researchers have found new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to the disease, as well as breast and ovarian cancer.
Otis Brawley National Cancer Institute

The largest gene-probing study ever done has fished out dozens of new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

The 74 newly discovered genetic variants double the previously known number for these malignancies, all of which are driven by sex hormones.

Underscoring the sheer magnitude of the findings, they're contained in 15 scientific papers published simultaneously by five different journals. The Nature group of journals has collected them all here.

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10:39am

Tue March 19, 2013
Shots - Health News

Sorting Out The Mammogram Debate: Who Should Get Screened When?

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:21 pm

A woman gets a mammogram in Putanges, France.
Mychele Daniau AFP/Getty Images

Mammography outcomes from nearly a million U.S. women suggest which ones under 50 would stand the greatest chance of benefiting from regular screening: those with very dense breasts.

That's been a bone of contention ever since a federal task force declared nearly four years ago that women younger than 50 shouldn't routinely get the test.

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