Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 11

Factor Analysis of New Symptom Scale in Breast Cancer Finds Six Clusters

November 27, 1996

WAYNE, NJ-Initial testing of the Symptom Experience Scale (SES), designed to measure women's experiences of symptoms associated with treatment for breast cancer, found six factors that used all 24 SES items and accounted for 83% of the variance, report Nelda Samarel, EdD, RN, of William Paterson College of New Jersey, and her colleagues.

AIDS Funding Increased for Fiscal '97

November 01, 1996

WASHINGTON-Federal AIDS programs faired well in the budget bill passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, which included increased funding in fiscal year 1997 for research, prevention, care, and drug assistance.

'Cancer Rates and Risks' Available

November 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The National Cancer Institute has released the latest edition of Cancer Rates and Risks, a 205-page reference book with cancer statistics and brief chapters by NCI experts, written in lay language, on known cancer risk factors. Single copies are available free through the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

New Breast Cancer Patient Resource Is Available

November 01, 1996

WILMINGTON, Del-The Breast Cancer Patient Education Service, recently established by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, allows breast cancer patients and their families to obtain patient education materials on tamoxifen (Nolvadex) with one phone call.

Short-Term Metronidazole not Linked to Cancer

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS-A large review with long-term follow-up of patients from Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Seattle, seems to put to rest any fears that short-term use of metronidazole may cause cancer in humans.

Various Capitation Models Are Available for Oncology Networks

November 01, 1996

ORLANDO-Payers have an obligation to provide the best possible oncology care, and the obligation is fulfilled "as a direct result of having a managed network," said Christine Ngo, capitation network manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida/Health Options, Inc., Jacksonville. Further, she said, "the most successful way we have found to develop a managed network is through capitation."

NCI Urges full Disclosure of Cigarette Contents

November 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md-The National Cancer Institute is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to replace its current cigarette testing protocol with one that provides the full range of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields in individual cigarette brands.

Antifungal Resistance on the Increase

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS--The number of presentations and overflowing symposia devoted to antifungal resistance were testament to the concerns of physicians attending the 36th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Fentanyl Patch Useful Alternative in Cancer Pain Patients

November 01, 1996

ROCHESTER, Minn-Use of transdermal fentanyl (Duragesic) in ambulatory cancer pain patients appears to be safe and effective, Julie E. Hammack, MD, and her colleagues from four North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) institutions report.

Analysis of Microvessel Density Predicts Extraprostatic Spread

November 01, 1996

HOUSTON-A new automated computerized system for analyzing the microvessel density of prostate tumors may help physicians more accurately stage the cancer before surgery, and thus assist physicians and patients in making treatment decisions, say Brian J. Miles, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, Washington University, Laval University, Quebec, University of Colorado, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Late Infection With Cytomegalovirus a Serious Problem in Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS--Ganciclovir (Cytovene) protects allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients in the early postoperative period, but late infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) continues to cause serious problems, Helen C. Maltezou, MD, reported at the 36th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

FDA Panel Cancels HIV Drug Meeting

November 01, 1996

ROCKVILLE, Md-The FDA has postponed a meeting of its Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee that was to consider Rescriptor (delavirdine), a Pharmacia and Upjohn Co. drug for use in treating HIV infection. The agency said the postponement will allow time to incorporate results of additional study information that recently became available. The FDA said it will reschedule the meeting, but announced no date.

Klausner Cites Breast Cancer Progress in Jo Oberstar Lecture

November 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--Breast cancer mortality continues to drop among white women in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, and, for the first time, it has dropped in black American women, NCI Director Richard Klausner said in his delivery of the 6th Annual Jo Oberstar Memorial Lecture at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Foundation Supports Legislation Backing Cancer Treatment Coverage

November 01, 1996

NEWPORT NEWS, Va-A new organization, the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF), has been created to support bills favoring patient access to insurance funding and encourage legislation on issues that threaten cancer patients' coverage for evolving therapies, therapeutic devices, or agents prescribed by their treating physicians.

FDA Approves Xillix LIFE-Lung System

November 01, 1996

ROCKVILLE, Md-The FDA has given final approval to the Xillix LIFE-Lung Fluorescence Endoscopy System for use in detecting early lung cancer. Xillix Technologies Corp., of Richmond, British Columbia, plans to market the system worldwide in early 1997.

Antibiotic Monitoring Programs Can Avert Potential Errors in Prescribing

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS--Monitoring programs in which hospital pharmacists double-check physicians' orders for antibiotics are proving effective in averting potential problems of safety or efficacy, researchers reported at the 36th Inter-science Conference on Antimicrobials and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Government's Investment in Visible Human Project Begins to Pay Dividends in Oncology

November 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md-The Visible Human Project has become a virtual reality beyond the expectations of many. Already, researchers are experimenting with the computerized anatomies of a man and woman, seeking ways to use them to the benefit of medical education, diagnostics, and surgery.

'Consolidation Inevitable' in Oncology Practice

November 01, 1996

ORLANDO-"Even with 1.2 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year, 4.5 million cancer patients, and cancer the costliest disease, there are still more oncologists out there than we need," said Harold Wodinsky, vice president of managed care and network development for EquiMed, Inc., a national multispecialty physician practice management firm.

Workplace Cancer Screening Program Saves Lives, Money

November 01, 1996

NEW YORK-Screening for breast cancer in the workplace saves money as well as lives, according to a study commissioned by Zeneca Inc. To emphasize this important message to business, the results were presented in a news conference held on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange.

Tuberculosis Cases in Cancer Patients Traced to BCG-Contaminated Catheters

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS-Beware the juxtaposition of BCG (Bacillus Calmette and Guérin) and other chemotherapeutic agents. Four patients in the same oncology outpatient clinic in Barcelona, Spain, developed disseminated BCG infection around the same time, apparently due to BCG-contaminated intravenous catheters, Dr. Javier Garau reported at the 36th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Low-Dose Liposomal Amphotericin Effective in Aspergillosis

November 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS-High doses of liposomal amphotericin B are no more effective than low doses in the treatment of invasive aspergillosis in neutropenic patients, European researchers reported at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Resonance Energy Transfer Assay Measures HIV-1 Fusion

November 01, 1996

TARRYTOWN, NY--An essential step in the life cycle of HIV is entry into the cell, allowing delivery of the viral genetic information to the target cell cytoplasm. Attachment and fusion are the critical events that make this possible.

Marketing Package Essential for Success of Oncology Network

November 01, 1996

ORLANDO--More physicians are electing to form specialty networks to contract with health care payers, and professional marketing of these alliances to health plans is critical to their economic survival, said Howard Fagin, PhD, of Physician's Health Corporation, an Atlanta-based company that helps physicians organize single and multispecialty networks.

Americans Split on Physician-Assisted Suicide, Support Hospice

November 01, 1996

NEW YORK--A recent Gallup opinion poll shows that Americans are split on the issue of legalizing physician-assisted suicide, but strongly favor hospice care. In the survey of 1,007 respondents, age 18 and over, 70% said they would seek hospice care for themselves if they were terminally ill. Half of the respondents said they favored legalizing physician-assisted suicide, but only 35% said they would choose it for themselves if they became terminally ill.

NIDR and NCI Establish Four Research Centers for Oral Cancer

November 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md-With the aim of increasing oral cancer survival rates, the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) and the National Cancer Institute will jointly fund four research centers to investigate the causes of oral cancers and to develop improved treatments.

NIH to Evaluate New Data on Breast Cancer Screening in Younger Women

November 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md-NIH plans a consensus development conference to assess the most recent data on the efficacy of mammography in screening women age 40 to 49 for breast cancer. The agency plans to convene the conference on January 21-23, 1997, on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Benefits of Tamoxifen Outweigh Endometrial Cancer Risk

November 01, 1996

An expert panel of nine international cancer researchers and practicing oncologists met in Boston to discuss the past, present, and future uses of antiestrogens in the treatment of breast cancer. The first article in this series, based on the symposium presentations, focused on the optimal duration of tamoxifen use (October 1996). This month, the panel explores the noncancer benefits of tamoxifen, as well as the potential risk of endometrial cancer. The symposium was sponsored by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Parents of Childhood Cancer Survivors May Show Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress

November 01, 1996

BUFFALO, NY--While most long-term survivors of childhood cancer suffer few psychological scars, up to 30% of fathers and 40% of mothers may exhibit moderate to severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS)--a disorder commonly associated with war veterans and victims of violent crime.

En Acción Public Service Ads Target Hispanics

November 01, 1996

SAN ANTONIO--A number of Hispanic notables, including Olympic gold medalist Pablo Morales and actors Maria Conchita Alonso and Jesse Borrego, have recorded public service announcements aimed at Hispanics encouraging cancer screening, good nutrition, exercise, not smoking, and sun protection.

DNA Squencing Locates p53 Mutations in Breast Cancer

November 01, 1996

NEW YORK-DNA sequencing is the gold standard for determining the presence or absence of p53 mutations in breast tumors, said Jorge A. Leon, PhD, corporate director for biotechnology research and development, Corning Nichols Institute/Corning Clinical Laboratories.

Community Oncologists Have Number of Options in Responding to Managed Care

November 01, 1996

ORLANDO-Community oncologists have a number of options in attempting to maximize their position in the managed care environment, said Myron H. Goldsmith, MD, executive director of development for the City of Hope Oncology Network, Los Angeles.