Think you know pink? Increase your awareness of breast cancer

October 22, 2013

October-Breast-Cancer-Awareness-MonthOctober, the annual observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is a time for reflection on the pervasiveness of the disease.

In the general US population, one in eight women will have breast cancer at some point in their lives and it is the most common cancer in American women.

1-in-8-get-Breast-Cancer

But breast cancer is not only confined to women. In 2009, 211,731 women and 2,001 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,676 women and 400 men died from it.

Even if you believe in and support the cause, you can still be unaware how widespread breast cancer is, and what you can do– beyond wearing pink– to inform yourself and others to reduce your risks and those of your loved ones.

Breast-Cancer-Knowing-Is-Not-Enough

Federal Government Breast Cancer Research and Awareness

The Federal government is doing a great deal to increase public awareness and disease eradication: everything from lighting the façade of the White House with pink floodlights during the month’s observance to spending $602.7 million on research at the National Cancer Institute in 2012 and funding a number of stellar breast cancer publications from the Department of Health & Human Services for both consumers and health care professionals. Learning more can help you do your part to be more aware and give yourself and your family and friends a better chance at being healthy.

white-house-breast-cancer-monthImage above: The North Portico exterior of the White House is illuminated pink, Oct. 3, 2011, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Source: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages (ePub eBook)Many circumstances affect one’s chances for getting breast cancer. Some factors can be controlled; others cannot. In The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages (ePub eBook), we learn that the controllable risk factors include environment (exposure to second-hand smoke, chemicals, radon, etc.) and personal history (diet, UV exposure, use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs or some medications such as hormones, etc.), while family history (genetics) and the age at which a woman enters menopause are factors beyond a woman’s control.

Effects of Ethnic and Cultural Differences

Breast Cancer: Black Women Have Higher Death Rates From Breast Cancer Than Other Women  from Vital Signs 2011Statistical evidence shows that not all women, especially women of color, do enough, or can get enough care, to protect themselves from breast cancer. Reading Breast Cancer: Black Women Have Higher Death Rates From Breast Cancer Than Other Women can make a reader upset and more determined to do his or her best to prevent breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death from cancer among women from all other races.

According to this recent statistical report, black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, compared to women of other races/  ethnicities. New changes enacted since the report was issued late last year, such as implementation of open season starting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [Learn more about the ACA in our Government Book Talk post “Everything You Should Know About The Health Care Law], may improve the statistic, since the ACA will provide 30 million previously uninsured Americans with health care if they go get it. These changes might reduce the risk to women’s death rates from breast cancer in the future as health care becomes more available to all.

Preventing Breast Cancer

breast_cancer_infographicFor a woman to give herself the best possible chance of avoiding breast cancer, self-care is critical. According to the CDC’s infographic Protect Yourself from Breast Cancer, women can take steps to help reduce their risk for breast cancer by remembering to:

  • get at least four hours of exercise per week,
  • keep a healthy weight,
  • limit alcoholic drinks to one per day,
  • breastfeed their infants,
  • bear their children before age 35,
  • get regular mammograms,
  • perform monthly self-exams,
  • and/or make careful decisions about taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

In addition to having access to health care, women can improve their chances of avoiding and/or surviving breast cancer by improving their self-care, as mentioned. For more tips on getting this care, and getting the insurance and treatment to help with the care, women and their families can consult a wide variety of Federal government publications, including

Breast Cancer Screening Options

 The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2012: Recommendations of the U.S. Prev The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2012: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task ForceThe Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2012 provides the latest recommendations for who should get a mammogram based on various risk factors including ethnic background and family history of breast cancer, when and how to do it and at what age. It also goes into the pros and cons of various alternative forms of breast cancer screening from the most reliable film mammography to digital mammography, MRIs, Clinical breast examination and breast self-examination.

Understanding Breast Changes: a Health Guide for WomenUnderstanding Breast Changes covers a discussion of the normal breast changes over the course of a woman’s lifetime, how to get a mammogram and understand the results, how to get the support you need, a glossary and a list of resources for more research. The Healthy Woman offers more general information on getting the right kind of health care for women. The writers recognize symptoms relating to particular diseases impacting a woman’s health, and they discuss various available treatment options for those diseases.

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Surgery Choices for Women with DCIS or Breast CancerWhen women do find that they need treatment, particularly surgery, for breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), they need to know as much about their proposed procedure as possible. An informed patient can much better participate in her own recovery, and give needed information to her surgeon, as well as provide herself with the knowledge of what is normal and what symptoms require follow-up. Surgery Choices for Women with DCIS or Breast Cancer covers those topics, and is a good starting point for a woman facing surgery for either of those conditions, when she is also consulting her care provider, surgeon, friends and family.

These highlights from these informative books may have made you realize that it’s time for you to improve your own self-care, or urge the women in your life to improve theirs. If that is so, then the best place to start is with the some public health research. You can find out more by reading the publications listed below.

FOR THE PUBLIC:

How can I obtain these breast cancer publications?

1)    The Healthy Woman: a Complete Guide for All Ages [eBook] and The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2012: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

  • Shop Online: You can purchase these two publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the links above in this blog post or shopping our collection under our Cancer category.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

2)     Protect Yourself from Breast Cancer [infographic], Breast Cancer: Black Women Have Higher Death Rates From Breast Cancer Than Other Women, Understanding Breast Changes: a Health Guide for Women, and Surgery Choices for Women with DCIS or Breast Cancer.

FOR LIBRARIANS: There are records available for the electronic versions of all these works in the Catalog of Government Publications, and you can buy your own copy of  The Healthy Woman: a Complete Guide for All Ages [eBook and The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services 2012: Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in the GPO Online Bookstore.

About the author(s): Adapted by Government Book Talk Editor-in-Chief and GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager, Michele Bartram, from an original blog post by Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).


Why Americans Should Care about Long-Term Care

September 27, 2013

Commission on Long-Term Care Final Report from September 2013 available from GPO.govThe Commission on Long-Term Care has formally released its Final Report to Congress in which it endorsed a package of 28 recommendations “for addressing our nation’s challenges with delivering and financing long-term care services and supports (LTSS).” Today it is also available from GPO.

Why Long Term Care is an Issue

With U.S. Baby Boomers entering retirement age, every day more than 10,000 Americans reach the age of 65. In five years, over 50% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50. As Americans live longer, more of us will need long-term care either with at-home services or nursing homes or other extended care facilities. The estimate is that over 12 million Americans need LTSS today, and 27 million will need long-term care by 2050 (see image from the Report below).

Americans-Needing-Long-Term-Care-by-2050Almost half (49%) of today’s 65 year-olds will require some kind of LTSS within 5 years, according to the report (See image below).

How-Soon-65-year-olds-will-need-Long-Term-Care from Commission on Long-term Care Final Report 2013

Finding and paying for quality long-term care is a growing challenge for most Americans, as the Commission’s report clearly demonstrates, particularly for frail older adults or people with disabilities and middle class families who do not qualify today for Government assistance like Medicaid. Likewise it is a concern for local, state and Federal lawmakers, since the report says that many people lack the necessary savings to pay for the high cost of this care along with regular health care costs, and that Medicare and Medicaid alone cannot cover the growing needs. (See our blog post Everything You Should Know About The Health Care Law for information about the new Affordable Care Act.)

How expensive is long-term care today? The latest report from Genworth Financial estimates that middle class families would have to pay on average $18 per hour for homemaker services, $19 an hour for home healthcare aides, $3,405 a month for assisted living facilities, and around $230 a day for a room in a private nursing home. The Commission’s report calculates that 25% of today’s 65 year-olds can expect to pay from $10,000 to over $100,000 or more on long-term care services in the future! (See image below).

How-Much-65-year-olds-will-pay-for-Long-Term-Care from Commission on Long-Term Care Final Report September 2013What is the Commission on Long-Term Care?

The Commission on Long-Term Care was established under Section 643 of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240), signed into law January 2, 2013, to be comprised of fifteen commissioners. Three members each were appointed by the President of the United States, the majority leader of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives.

The statute directs the Commission to:

“…develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for individuals in need of such services and supports, including elderly individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living, and individuals desiring to plan for future long-term care needs.”

The statute further directed the Commission within 6 months of the appointment of Commissioners (by September 12, 2013) to:

“…vote on a comprehensive and detailed report based on the long-term care plan… [described above]… that contains any recommendations or proposals for legislative or administrative action as the Commission deems appropriate, including proposed legislative language to carry out the recommendations or proposals.”

What’s in the Report?

In the opening letter of the report addressed to the President and Congressional leaders, the Commissioners broadly explain the Report’s contents:

“Working on a bipartisan basis, the Commission adopted 28 specific public policy recommendations in service delivery, workforce, and financing that set a strong path forward for transforming systems of care to best meet people’s needs while appreciating today’s fiscal realities.”

Among the 28 measures in the report, the recommendations included:

  • Expanding use of insurance policies that combine life insurance and annuities with long-term care insurance.
  • Using a Partnership for Long-Term Care in which arrangements are made between state and private insurers to enable long-term care insurance policyholders to retain assets equal to the amount of benefits paid under their policy and still qualify for Medicaid.
  • Increasing education efforts to enhance public knowledge about long-term care options, especially given “the limitations of Medicare and Medicaid in funding [long-term care services]”
  • Recognizing caregivers as members of “care teams,” including information about caregivers in patient records, assessing caregivers’ need for support, and making services like respite care more widely available.

With five dissenting members, the Commission explains that it included “two approaches” in its Final Report about how to finance a long-term care system (LTSS) in the United States. To find out more, you should read this timely and important report.

How can you obtain a copy of this Long-Term Care report?

1) Buy a printed copy

  • Shop our Online Bookstore website: You may purchase a copy of this report online 24/7 on the U.S. Government Bookstore site.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Printed copies of this report may also be purchased from GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401. Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays.

2) View or download a PDF from GPO’s official Federal documents database, FDsys:

Download the Commission on Long-Term Care, Report to the Congress [PDF 1798 KB]

About the Author: Michele Bartram is Promotions & eCommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and Government Book Talk Editor.


Everything You Should Know About The Health Care Law

September 24, 2013

Inside-the-affordable-care-act or Obamacare. In one week at the beginning of fiscal year 2014 on October 1, 2013, and at the start of the calendar year on January 1, 2014, the provisions of the new health care law go into effect. Image courtesy: Charlotte Area News.

The health care law, known officially as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or  more commonly as “Obamacare” has two parts: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Public Law 111–148), and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (Public Law 111–152 which was enacted to amend the PPACA. It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2010.

Since that time, in the span of 42 months, the health care law has been upheld by the Supreme Court and some early provisions have already been implemented. Upon conception of the law, 2014 was marked as the year the most significant provisions of the law would go into effect.

Find information about these marketplaces for Individuals and Families or Small Businesses on the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Healthcare Marketplace website, https://www.healthcare.gov/.

Image: U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Healthcare Marketplace website, https://www.healthcare.gov/

A week from today on October 1, 2013, open enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces begins and remains open for six months closing on March 31, 2014. Find information about these marketplaces for Individuals and Families or Small Businesses on the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Healthcare Marketplace website,  https://www.healthcare.gov/. There are links to healthcare marketplace information in other languages as well:

The high profile provisions that go into effect on January 1, 2014, include:

  • Coverage begins if you signed up through the health insurance marketplace
  • Protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions
  • Elimination of annual limits on insurance coverage
  • Tax credits to help pay for costs if you sign up with a health insurance marketplace
  • Expanded access to Medicaid, subject to the state you live in
  • Individual mandate if you choose not to buy health insurance

obamacare-at-a-glance-ny-daily-news

Image courtesy: New York Daily News.

This is a basic overview of the law. To fully understand the details requires further reading, and GPO is here to help. GPO makes the authentic, published version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act available to the public in print through the agency’s Online Bookstore and digitally through GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). GPO also works with 1,200 libraries nationwide through the Federal Depository Library Program to have resources on the health care law available to public.

How do I obtain a copy of this Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

1) Buy a printed copy

  • Shop Online: You can purchase a printed copy of the Health Care Act containing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore or by shopping our Public Health Policy & Healthcare Laws collection under our Health & Benefits category.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy a printed copy at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Find it in a Library: Find this in a federal depository library.

2) View or download a PDF from GPO’s official Federal documents database, FDsys:

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. Additional content provided by Government Book Talk Editor: Michele Bartram, Promotions & eCommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.


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