Navigation Links
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs

Theories vary as to why, but experts say consequence can be severe

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- In another sign of the challenges facing the health-care industry as it tries to serve the poor, researchers from North Carolina are reporting that nearly four in 10 poor women recovering from breast cancer do not take the drugs recommended to keep their cancer from returning.

Those who do not follow instructions to take these drugs, medications that block hormones, face a higher risk of dying, said study author Dr. Gretchen Kimmick.

The findings don't examine whether wealthier women are more likely to take the drugs, nor do they reveal trends over time.

Even so, they raise questions about poor women's lack of adherence to the drug regimens, including whether it's due to factors other than money because government-funded insurance would cover almost all the cost.

"The key right now is that we've got to figure out why they didn't get the standard treatment," said Kimmick, an associate professor in medical oncology at Duke University.

The study included 1,491 low-income women, who averaged 67 years old and were recovering from breast cancer, which had been diagnosed between 1998 and 2002.

The researchers found that 36 percent of the women failed to fill prescriptions for the recommended drugs to prevent the return of a type of breast cancer known as hormone receptor-positive. Women in the study had that type or an unknown type of breast cancer; two-thirds had undergone mastectomies.

Of those who did fill initial prescriptions, 40 percent stopped the drugs before the end of the year-long period.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the drug company AstraZeneca, appears in the May 18 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Drugs such as the well-known medication tamoxifen, which AstraZeneca markets, are thought to help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. Kimmick said that they seem to kill cancer cells by blocking estrogen from getting to them.

Treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy don't always kill cells that "snuck out," and the drugs appear to target them, she said.

But some women might have trouble getting into the routine of taking the drugs, she said. Side effects are also possible.

Cost could be a factor in some cases, but the women in the study paid only a "minimal" co-payment for the drugs, Kimmick said.

There are other possible explanations. Dr. Leonidas G. Koniaris, a surgical oncologist who's familiar with the study's findings, said that some women might not realize the value of the drugs.

It's also possible that people from certain cultures could have more mistrust of doctors and medical treatments, said Koniaris, chairman of surgical oncology and an associate professor of surgery at the University of Miami.

Ultimately, he said, women's survival is at risk if they don't follow instructions. Though the drugs won't make a difference to women whose breast cancer was cured by initial treatment, he said, "for one in 10 or one in 20, their chance for cure and long-term survival is shortened by not taking the medications."

More information

The nonprofit group has more on breast cancer treatment and side effects.

SOURCES: Gretchen Kimmick, M.D., associate professor, medical oncology, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Leonidas G. Koniaris, M.D., associate professor and Alan Livingstone chair in surgical oncology, University of Miami; May 18, 2009, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo Clinic Researchers Say Agent Provides Treatment Option for Women with Hot Flashes
2. 7 out of 10 women too embarrassed to discuss vaginal dryness and pain with their physician
3. Program focused on body, mind and spirit helps women with breast cancer cope
4. Mayo Clinic researchers say agent provides treatment option for women with hot flashes
5. Menttium Offers Scholarship Award to Businesswomen Leaders
6. Womens Digital Imaging of Ridgewood First Private Medical Practice in New York Area to Screen With Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)
7. CDC: Flu Drugs Should Be 1st Choice for Pregnant Women With Swine Flu
8. Siemens Hearing Celebrates 10th Annual National Womens Health Week
9. Video: Economic Downturn Is Driving Many Osteoporotic Women to Retire Later - but Their Ability to Work May Be Undermined by Sub-Optimal Management of Their Disease
10. Southern AIDS Living Quilt Posts 100th Video Patch During National Womens Health Week
11. More Single Women Are Having Babies
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a ... customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will ... to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only ... age of 30 (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under ... simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in ... that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to ... dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November 20th, ... its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very short ... universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his ... is one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held ... Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has announced ... High Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Self Administration of High ... --> Research and Markets ( ) ... Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a ... treatment outcomes for patients suffering from chronic pain, said ... a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from ... companies. --> --> ... of its legal options. --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: