06Jun

Aspirin appears to boost the survival rate for older people with bladder and breast cancer.

“[Increased survival] was primarily strongest amongst those who took aspirin 3 or more times a week,” said Holli Loomans-Kropp, PhD, MPH, study author and NCI DCP Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Her comments appear in Oncology Nursing News.

Researchers used data collected over an 8-year period from 139,896 participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. They found taking aspirin had no effect on whether a person would develop cancer. Nor did it have any impact on survival rates for those with esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, or uterine cancer.

But for those patients 65 years and older with breast or bladder cancer, taking aspirin three or more times a week improved their chances of survival over those taking no aspirin or taking it less often.

In the study, published online last month in JAMA Network Open, the researchers, said, “Although aspirin use at least 3 times/week was associated with the strongest risk reduction, any aspirin use was associated with increased bladder and breast cancer survival. These results may indicate that for some cancer types, any aspirin use may be advantageous; however, greater benefit may be observed with increased frequency of use.”

The researchers note that many people – between 25% and 50% of adults – take aspirin regularly. “Long-term aspirin use has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer (particularly gastrointestinal cancers), and all-cause mortality,” the researchers write. “Recent research suggests that aspirin use may offer protection against the development of and mortality from other cancer types as well.”

Previous findings from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial showed an association between aspirin use and significant reductions in the risk of colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer, but minimal or no association with prostate and ovarian incidence and survival.

“Although prior research has been most heavily concentrated in gastrointestinal cancers, our analysis extends the advantages associated with aspirin use to other cancers, such as bladder and breast cancers,” the researchers write. The latest study now suggests that aspirin use can improve longevity for older people with breast cancer and especially for bladder cancer.

“There is definitely evidence provided by our study, but it is not enough to suggest anything clinical, as it was a secondary analysis,” Loomans-Kropp told Oncology Nursing News. “Other randomized clinical trials are required to be able to say anything more definitively.”

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

Abbott Begins Hiring to Produce Its New Rapid Covid Test

Abbott Laboratories has begun hiring for facilities in Illinois and Maine that will make the pharmaceutical firm’s new rapid COVID-19 test.

The Illinois site is expected to fill 2,000 new positions. The plant in Westbrook, Maine will hire 1,200 workers. Most of the jobs will be temporary, but are likely to extend well into next year based on the company’s announced production schedule.

Abbott was contracted by the federal government to produce 150 million tests at $5 each. Called BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card, Abbott says the test delivers reliable results in just 15 minutes. The most commonly available current tests take two or more days for results, sometimes even up to a week, depending on where the test was done.

Like other tests, Abbott’s requires taking a nasal swab. Trained workers activate the test kit, inserting the swab into a “test well” in a credit card-sized cardboard test card. Results are ready in 15 minutes. The presence of a COVID infection shows up as two pink/purple lines.

Use of the test is intended for individuals “suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of symptom onset,” said the Food and Drug Administration.

The test was fast tracked by the FDA, getting emergency approval on August 26. The following day, the government announced the deal to acquire a supply of the tests for $750 million.

Abbott has also created Navica, an app allowing those who test negative to demonstrate their COVID status. Abbott says it will serve as a “digital ‘boarding pass’ that can be scanned to enter organizations and other places where people gather.”

Most of the new jobs don’t require any technical experience. Abbott said it will provide all the training production workers will need.

Photo provided by
United Nations COVID-19 Response

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

Healthcare Outlook: Many Challenges, No Quick Fixes

Already undergoing challenging and sometimes painful changes, the global healthcare sector can expect more of the same in 2020 and for some time beyond. But these changes also present opportunities says a 2020 outlook from Deloitte.

The drivers of the the sector’s transformation are many: “A growing and aging population, rising prevalence of chronic diseases, infrastructure investments, technological advancement, evolving care models, higher labor costs amid worker shortages, and the expansion of health care systems in developing markets.”

The Deloitte outlook examines four broad categories of change:

  1. Financial operations and performance improvement
  2. Digital transformation and interoperability
  3. Care model innovation
  4. Future of work

While each of these is already in play, some pose greater difficulty. Globally, and especially in the US, “health systems are struggling to maintain financial sustainability in an uncertain and changing environment.” While righting the financial picture will be different from country to country, Deloitte notes “a few of the options could be payment reform, universal health coverage, pricing controls, population health management (PHM), and public-private partnerships (PPPs). Industry consolidation and a changing regulatory landscape also are seen as influencing factors.

“Health system leaders will likely need to employ a balanced mix of these levers in 2020 to deliver high-quality care and achieve financial sustainability.”

Employers will continue to deal with a shortage of healthcare professionals. “A widening demand-supply gap of skilled professionals is creating immediate challenges for public and private health system,” says Deloitte, describing rising demand in developing countries and shortages almost everywhere.

Deloitte especially sees no easing of the demand shortfall of nurses and doctors, calling it “particularly acute.” If anything, the report suggests the shortage in the US and in Europe has the potential for getting worse.

Countries are experimenting with different approaches to easing the shortages including adoption of AI-enabled diagnostic tools, free medical school tuition in exchange for working in underserved areas and broader and faster adoption of remote medicine technology and even repatriation incentives.

Ultimately, “Health systems need to consider new methods to source, hire, train, and retain skilled workers to achieve.

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

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