Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019

From a bill that would improve access to care for patients with stage 4 cancer to the death of Roxette lead singer Marie Fredrikksson, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

The lead singer of the Swedish rock band Roxette has died. Marie Fredriksson passed away Monday following a 17-year battle with cancer, according to her management company.

In 2002, the 61-year-old received a brain tumor diagnosis and was treated aggressively for it. She recovered and began performing again in 2009. However, in 2016, doctors advised her to prioritize her health.

Fredriksson and Per Gessle made up the duo who had hits such as “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love.”

Gessle issued a statement on social media, “Time goes by so quickly. It’s not that long ago we spent days+nights in my tiny apartment sharing impossible dreams. And what a dream we eventually got to share! I’m honoured to have met your talent+generosity. All my love goes to you+your family. Things will never be the same.”

NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren has revealed that just a few months ago she received a stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. Dahlgren found what she described as a slight dent in her right breast on her 47th birthday this past September, then she felt a lump. Even though she knew she should get it checked out she was sent to cover a hurricane in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In between live shots, Dahlgren went to a local hospital where she received a mammogram and ultrasound — although a mammogram in April was negative.

Within days she received the diagnosis, she revealed in an article. She is currently receiving chemotherapy.

Dahlgren wrote that she is thankful for a story she was assigned in 2016 about other signs of breast cancer, even though a lump is the most commonly reported.

“If I hadn't done that story, I might have ignored the change in my breast. I might have assumed a mammogram would have picked up cancer,” Dahlgren wrote.

A newly proposed bill in Ohio would ensure immediate access to treatment for patients with stage 4 cancer. If passed, insurance providers in the state would be required to eliminate “fail first” provisions that require patients to first try an insurers’ preferred, and often generic, alternative drug prior to receiving financial coverage for the therapy prescribed by a treating physician.

“Patients with stage 4 cancer simply don’t have time to waste, and ‘fail first’ provisions do a disservice to individuals facing this diagnosis by restricting access to newer targeted therapies as a first course of treatment for cancer and its associated conditions,” Dr. Raphael Pollock, a surgical oncologist specializing in sarcoma and director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), said in a press release.

OSUCCC — James and state senators Bob Hackett (R-London) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) introduced the bill that is expected to be presented to the Ohio State Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee by early 2020.

The bill does not apply to experimental clinical trials.

Patients with lung cancer are encouraged to become part of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer’s patient registry and share their story. The Lung Cancer Registry will now include surveys for patients to fill out when they join and then again quarterly and annually. Questions will include information about the drugs and treatments received, track symptoms and side effects and assess health-related quality of life.

“This data will help researchers identify new patterns, thereby helping to inform new clinical trials and improve patient care and patient outcomes,” said Sandra Shaw, director, Lung Cancer Registry.

To learn more about the Lung Cancer Registry or to sign up, visit lungcancerregistry.org.


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