Lingering Risk of Breast Cancer Relapse
The risk of relapse lingers for some breast cancer survivors even after they've finished five years of therapy, according to a study published yesterday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, researchers are quick to say that the risk is not as dire as many women think. Most women "remain terrified they are going to relapse. I think the message for women is, the risk may not be as large as they think," Dr. Abenaa Brewster, a medical oncologist at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, told HealthDay. Brewster is the study's lead author.
Researchers evaluated 2,838 breast cancer patients whose disease ranged from stage I to III. All had received a variety of treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or endocrine therapy, between 1985 and 2001 and had been in remission for five years. About 89 percent of the women remained recurrence-free 10 years after being diagnosed, and about 80 percent were recurrence-free 15 years after being diagnosed. The study found that women with stage I disease had a 7 percent chance of relapse; stage II, 11 percent; and stage III, 13 percent.
Losing Weight After Diabetes Diagnosis Offers Benefits
People who lost weight within 18 months after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes experienced sustained benefits even if they regained the weight later, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Diabetes Care. The patients were up to twice as likely to reach their targets for blood pressure and blood sugar as those who didn't lose weight, although by the end of the four-year study, most of them had regained the weight they had lost. Researchers speculate that "metabolic memory" may help explain the results; that is, achieving early metabolic control may have a long-term effect on clinical outcomes. Or it could be that the study didn't last long enough: "One possibility is that if we'd looked further out, the benefits would go away," says Greg Nichols, study coauthor and a researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.
Survey Finds Difficulties Getting Routine Medical Care
About 73 percent of people say they have difficulty getting access to their doctor when they need to, according to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund. As Michelle Andrews reports, 30 percent reported that it was hard to get a next-day appointment when they were sick; twice that number said it was difficult to get care on weekends or in the evening from their regular doctor. More than 40 percent of respondents said that, even during regular business hours, they had trouble getting advice from their doctor on the telephone.
Previously, Andrews offered advice on what to consider when you're thinking about going to the emergency room.
—January W. Payne