Disease Management Update
Volume IV, No. 24
October 4, 2007

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

In today's world, it seems that cancer is everywhere. This week's DM Update focuses on factors that increase the risk of one type of cancer, as well as advances in early detection of another type of cancer. As this week kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month, check out HIN's blog to see what Susan G. Komen for the Cure, General Mills and Ellen DeGeneres all have in common.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Laura M. Greene
Editor, Disease Management Update

If this is a forwarded copy of Disease Management Update and you like what you see, you can register to receive your own copy of this complimentary service. Sign up at: http://www.hin.com/dmdesktop/diseasemanagement.html

Table of Contents

  1. Alcohol Consumption Linked to Breast Cancer Risk
  2. Disease Management Q&A: DM in a Cure-focused Media
  3. HealthSounds Podcast: Healthcare Toolkits Award — Breast Cancer Survivors Navigation Kit
  4. Underused Colon Cancer Screening Test Effective
  5. Survey of the Month: Healthcare Trends in 2008
  6. Managing Digital Mammography: Hardcopy Printer Improves Detection and Treatment of Breast Cancer

1. Alcohol Consumption Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

A new study shows that it is the quantity of alcohol consumed, not the type, that increases one’s risk of breast cancer, according to Kaiser Permanente researchers.

Kaiser Permanente colleagues studied the drinking habits of 70,033 multi-ethnic women who had supplied information during health examinations between 1978 and 1985. By 2004, 2,829 of these women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study found there was no difference between wine (red or white), beer or spirits in the risk of developing breast cancer. Furthermore, researchers found that women who drank between one and two alcoholic drinks per day increased their risk of breast cancer by 10 percent compared with light drinkers who drank less than one drink a day. The risk of breast cancer increased by 30 percent in women who drank more than three drinks a day.

To learn more about the findings of this study, please visit:

2. Disease Management Q&A: DM in a Cure-focused Media

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Scott Smith, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer for First Health.

Question: Has anyone tried to get the media to help promote healthy lifestyles? We see a lot of advertising for medications, diseases and obesity but not many public service messages for achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Response: (Dr. Smith) This is a major issue. First, whoever is addressing the issue of wellness or healthy lifestyles needs to define their terms clearly. For a patient with a chronic illness, the elements of a healthy lifestyle are different than for a person in a pre-morbid state or a young person.

The reality is that we only engage the media or get any kind of reaction from them when something happens that everybody wants to get involved in or excited about. Recently we’ve had a number of discussions with the media about obesity. But this was as a result of Medicare activity and other payor activity relative to paying for services in that regard.

It would be wonderful if the media could be involved. But I’ve not found them to have interest in the non-morbid situations because these issues don’t sell as many papers or are not quite as interesting to people. Unfortunately, we have a cure-focused and a disease-focused society.

Talking to somebody who’s 30 or even 13 about establishing healthy habits when they’re not currently in a morbid state is tough. It definitely would be a better investment of resources than some of the things we do today. The only time you hear about the health of children is when there’s a crisis of some kind such as obesity, influenza or whooping cough.

For more details on modifying behavior to optimize DM outcomes, please visit:

We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to info@hin.com.

3. HealthSounds Podcast: Healthcare Toolkits Award — Breast Cancer Survivors Navigation Kit

In this week's disease management podcast, the winners of HIN's annual Healthcare Toolkits contest talk about the development and implementation of their toolkit "MyHealth, MyJourney," a post-diagnosis patient navigation kit developed by The Eden Communications Group, accented with artwork and writings by breast cancer survivors.

To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:

4. Underused Colon Cancer Screening Test Effective

An underused colon cancer screening test available in the United States effectively detects colorectal cancer and may help to improve colon cancer screening rates, according to Kaiser Permanente. Improved Fecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBT), called Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FITs), look for human blood in the stool and are more effective at detecting cancers and polyps than guaiac tests (GTs), the older and more widely used stool screening tests.

Researchers compared the performance of FIT and a sensitive GT in 5,841 people with an average risk for colorectal cancer. They analyzed the tests' ability to detect colorectal cancers and polyps in people with the disease (sensitivity) and the tests' ability to determine which people do not have the disease (specificity).

The FIT had a sensitivity of 81.8 percent for detecting colorectal cancers and a specificity of 96.9 percent, compared to 64.3 percent and 90.1 percent respectively in the GTs. The higher specificity of the FIT means that there are fewer false positive results and, therefore, fewer interventional procedures to be performed in patients without disease.

To see more of this survey's results, please visit:

5. Survey of the Month: Healthcare Trends in 2008

Complete our survey on healthcare trends in 2008, and you'll receive a FREE summary of the results.

To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:

6. Managing Digital Mammography: Hardcopy Printer Improves Detection and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Full Field Digital Mammography (FFDM) has the near-term potential to dramatically improve the way physicians detect and treat breast cancers, as well as radically change how mammography facilities record, archive, share and dispatch images. Part of the latter may involve a shift toward dry hardcopy printing of digital breast imaging.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
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