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Power. Progress. Prevention. May 25, 2018

May 25, 2018

May 25, 2018

Right-to-try bill passes

Earlier this week, the House passed the Senate-originated “right-to-try” bill, sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), in a 250-169 vote. This would allow terminally ill patients to request experimental drugs directly from manufacturers before they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill has now been passed on to President Trump, a large supporter of the bill, for his review and signature.

The aim of right-to-try legislation in the House and Senate is to expand experimental drug access to terminally ill patients who have run out of treatment options. The FDA already has an Expanded Access or “compassionate use” program to allow terminally ill patients in conjunction with their physician to access experimental drugs. About 99 percent of applicants are approved. Critics of right-to-try are concerned with patient safety and efficacy of treatment resulting from removing the FDA from the patient-manufacturer relationship in the administration of experimental drugs.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® believes in access to medications and treatment for those who need it; however, oversight from the FDA is critical to ensure all options are safe and effective.

We will continue to monitor this bill and provide updates as they become available.

Bill could weaken FDA’s authority over tobacco products

The House Appropriations Committee approved the 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill last week to fund programs and services that support food safety, rural development, agriculture trade and nutrition. The bill includes an amendment offered by Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) that substantially weakens the FDA’s oversight on several tobacco products. The Senate plans to mark up its Agriculture-FDA appropriations bill next week.

The amendment completely exempts “large and premium cigars” from FDA regulation, which could include, cheap, unsafe flavored cigars that attract children. It also makes it easier for tobacco companies to introduce new products without an FDA review to assess potential health risks.

Tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer, which is one of the most deadly diseases in the United States. The FDA protects consumers from potentially harmful products, especially ones that appeal to children; however, the new amendment weakens its ability to do so. We will keep a close eye on the legislation and continue to provide updates.

Don’t Fry Day

To help reduce rising rates of skin cancer caused by overexposure to the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated today as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness.

As warm weather approaches and millions of Americans prepare to spend more time outdoors, the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage increases. Help protect you and your family from the sun by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30, staying in the shade whenever possible, wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses and using lip balm with both UVB and UVA protection.

Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. Visit our page on skin cancer to learn more about sun safety and ways to reduce your risk. Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

May is recognized as Hepatitis Awareness Month to encourage people to get vaccinated and tested for the disease and learn about its connection to liver cancer.

Two of the most common types of hepatitis, B and C, can lead to liver cancer if left untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than five million Americans, about two percent of the population, are chronically infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or both. Yet, most people living with viral hepatitis are unaware they are infected. When left untreated, infected individuals could develop cirrhosis (liver scarring), end stage liver disease or liver cancer.

What you can do this month:

  • Get tested for hepatitis B and C to learn your status. Your primary care physician or your local community health department can provide this service.
  • Talk to your health care provider about the hepatitis B vaccine if you haven’t yet received it. While there isn’t a vaccination against hepatitis C, there are treatment options available.

It is important to talk with your doctor about how you can prevent or be treated for hepatitis. Make the call today to help you and your family Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®

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