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Health News Round-Up: ‘Genetic Counseling’ to Comprehend Cancer Risks

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Oct 14, 2015 4:38:51 PM

What Does My Genetic Test Tell Me? Genetic Counseling Can Explain

Recent health news from across the Web: specialized support for genetic testing, a fresh quit-smoking option, hypoglycemia dangers, and more.Genetics can tell us a lot, so long as we understand how to interpret them. In some cases, our genes can make us vulnerable to certain inherited diseases. One such example is breast cancer; mutations in the BRCA gene family are linked to 5-10% of all cases (and up to 15% of ovarian cancer cases). Genetic testing has made it possible to determine whether a person carries a specific mutation. Yet taking such a test — especially if the result is positive — could raise more anxieties than it puts to rest. The specialized field of genetic counseling is one way to fill knowledge gaps and help individuals understand what results they may receive, and what exactly that means for their health and future risk.

A recent study found that of women who elected to undergo testing for BRCA mutations, few were offered genetic counseling. However, those who received the service reported better understanding of their personal results and more satisfaction with the knowledge they gained. As the cost of these tests lowers to more affordable levels and more people may choose to take them as a predictive measure, it may not be feasible for all patients to access genetic counseling (which is covered as a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act). But for some, especially individuals with a strong family history of an inheritable disease, it may be worth requesting more information or asking a doctor or specialist whether genetic counseling before getting tested would be a good idea.

(Genetic counseling is rare among BRCA-tested women; Reuters)

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Topics: Dementia, Caregiving, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Smoking, Financial Health, Cancer, Advanced Care Planning

Vibrant Symposium on End of Life Invigorates C3MD 2015

Posted by RHHAdmin on Oct 9, 2015 4:31:31 PM

C3MD 2015

C3MD Stage 2015Recently, Residential Home Health was proud to host the third Care Continuum Conference of Metro Detroit (C3MD) on September 30 and October 1, 2015. Presented in partnership with the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology and MPRO, the conference brought together Michigan providers from across the continuum to learn, share perspectives, and deepen relationships in service of providing ever-better patient care.

For C3MD 2015, more than 500 healthcare professionals and thought leaders gathered at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, shattering attendance records. After a warm welcome from Residential Home Health executives, the symposium presentation featured two compelling perspectives on this year’s conference theme, ‘Modern Medicine: It Ain’t the Way to Die.’

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Topics: Residential News, Advance Directive, Advanced Care Planning

Health News Round-Up: Combating Cancer from a New Research Angle

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Sep 2, 2015 1:52:24 PM

Cancer Research Suggests a New Genetic Frontier in Treatment

Nurse Performing Genetic Testing Previously, treating a patient’s cancer meant treating the type of cancer: breast, prostate, skin, etc. Some types call for specialized surgeries, others for specifically developed medications, others for finely tuned chemotherapy or radiation regimens. But the field of cancer research is changing, with efforts increasingly focused on the genes that cause the cancer or help it to spread. And thanks to a new drug trial, reportedly the first of its kind, this approach could be gaining traction.

Previous findings had uncovered a common gene mutation found in both skin cancer and lung cancer. Researchers hypothesized that because of this similarity, a drug already approved for skin cancer might have a crossover effect on the other cancer type. Indeed, a substantial proportion of lung cancer patients responded to the drug. Other cancer types did not exhibit such promising results, which may be the result of fewer of those patients having the targeted mutation — the key may be narrowing down the right commonalities. Future studies along these lines are already in the works, and signs are pointing to new, more specific cancer treatments that are based on gene mutation rather than type.

(First trial targeting mutation, not cancer type, gives mixed results; Reuters)

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Topics: Caregiving, Health News, Nutrition, Stroke, Heart Disease, Smoking, Financial Health, Cancer, Fitness, Advanced Care Planning

A Bestselling Surgeon’s Striking Vantage on Aging and Care Priorities

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Aug 29, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Book of the Month: September 2015

Our conversation-starting book for September examines the sometimes contentious relationship between aging and medicine from multiple vantage points.Dr. Atul Gawande has brought his insights as a surgeon, public health researcher, and professor of medicine to the literary world for many years. He has been recognized for his bestselling books and contributions to the New Yorker, primarily concerning modern medicine. Gawande’s writing is notable for migrating away from the thrilling, groundbreaking forefronts of treatment, often turning a critical eye on cutting-edge medicine and the expense and error it can introduce.

Gawande’s most recent book, Being Mortal, takes a bracing look at the dissonance between the aims of the US healthcare system and the best interests of aging or chronically ill patients. By placing himself and his own dawning fallacies as a physician into the story, he traces a path away from every-available-treatment and instead toward a new kind of compassionate care.

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Topics: Hospice, Recommended Reading, Advanced Care Planning