Doctor Housecalls Blog

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Cancer Survivors with a Healthy Lifestyle Live Longer

NBC News reported that cancer patients who followed the American Cancer Society guidelines for a healthy lifestyle were 42 percent less likely to die than cancer patients who did not follow the guidelines. A University of California, San Francisco study found that cancer survivors who maintain “a health body weight, engage in regular physical activity, and eat a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains and low in red meats and processed meats did better and survived longer than those who didn’t.” The study followed and collected data about the diet, weight and exercise of 992 stage 3 colon cancer patients. They began following the patients two months after surgery and they collected data on them for a total of 7 years.

While the research was conducted on colon cancer patients the researchers have stated that the results most likely apply to all cancer survivors. Before the study, only 10 percent of the patients were following the healthy lifestyle guidelines. Out of the patients who did not follow the American Cancer Society guidelines, 35 percent died within the 7 years. Only 10 percent of patients adhering to the guidelines died within the 7-year study. It was also found that patients who ate two servings of tree nuts a week, were far less likely to die within the 7 years of the study.

 



Failing to Take Prescribed Medication: An American Epidemic

Americans are facing an epidemic that is 100 percent preventable: “non-adherence to prescribed medication.” The New York Times suggests that this is a widespread problem and is affecting people more than any disease. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, studies show that 20 to 30 percent of medicine prescriptions are left unfilled and about 50 percent of medications prescribed for chronic diseases are not taken as they are prescribed. It was also reported that people who do take their prescribed medications only take about half of the prescribed dosage.

“This lack of adherence is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year,” The New York Times reported. Drugs cannot work if people do not take them. The article suggests that this partly explains why medications that have done well in studies have failed to perform as well in the commercial market. It also explains why patients do not get better or suffer from relapses.

The article details improvements that can be made to help this epidemic, such as “Multiple drugs for a condition could be combined into one pill or packaged together, or dosing can be simplified. Doctors and pharmacists can use digital technology to interact with patients and periodically reinforce the importance of staying on their medication.” Patients who forget to take drugs can also use apps and devices to help them remember.

 


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