NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
September 14, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 35 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Medicare Cancer Drug Benefit Enrollment Period Expanded
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will the expand the enrollment period for the Medicare Replacement Drug Demonstration until 50,000 people are enrolled. Only 4,000 cancer patients have signed up so far for Medicare coverage of their cancer drugs.

Medicare beneficiaries with cancer and other serious diseases who enrolled early in a new large-scale demonstration program are now saving up to 90 percent on the cost of self-administrable drugs that replace drugs previously delivered only in physician offices, Dr. Mark B. McClellan, CMS administrator, announced on Sept. 10.

Beneficiaries with cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious diseases who applied by Aug. 16 began receiving benefits on Sept. 1. Those individuals who enroll by Sept. 30 will begin receiving benefits by Oct. 18.

The demonstration program is intended to provide savings on certain drugs covered by Medicare Part B for beneficiaries without drug coverage. Until recently, patients were required to have these drugs administered by a physician. Under this demonstration program, "replacement" drugs are available for self-administration, either orally or through self-injection, which saves money and, for many, is more convenient.

Information about the demonstration, including brochures, application forms, and a complete list of covered drugs, may be downloaded from the CMS Web site at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/researchers/
demos/drugcoveragedemo.asp
. Customer service representatives are available at 1-866-563-5386, or by TTY at 1-866-536-5387, to answer questions about the demonstration and assist beneficiaries in obtaining and completing the application forms.

Scientific Presentations, Survivor Reflection Papers Available Online
Highlights and slide presentations from the 2nd Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference: Pathways to Health after Treatment, are now available on the NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS) Web site. The June conference was cosponsored by OCS and the American Cancer Society (ACS). Leading researchers presented findings on the most prevalent late effects related to cancer and its treatment and on innovative interventions to reduce these effects on cancer survivors and their families. National priorities in cancer survivorship and data on the projected economic burden of cancer survivorship were also presented.

A series of personal reflection papers written by cancer advocates who participated in the Survivor-Researcher Mentor Program also can be found on the OCS Web site. In collaboration with OCS and ACS, the Lance Armstrong Foundation funded the mentor program to provide a forum for research and advocacy communities to discuss the state of cancer survivorship science. All post-conference materials are available at http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/pathways/.

President's Cancer Panel Holds First of Four Meetings
The discovery engine through which scientists are gaining knowledge about the biology and etiology of cancer is accelerating rapidly, but the speed at which this knowledge is being transferred to clinicians, patients, and communities lags behind. It is critically important for the National Cancer Program to focus on moving the results of research into practice in all communities of America. So concluded the President's Cancer Panel on August 30 at the first in a new series of meetings on "Translating Research to Reduce the Burden of Cancer." The meeting was hosted by the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Center. Experts from government, industry, and academia, as well as clinicians, third-party payers, and community representatives, testified about barriers to developing rapidly emerging scientific discoveries into useful interventions that can be delivered into the community. The role of academic medical centers in the discovery-development-delivery continuum was specifically explored.

The Panel will hold three additional meetings on this topic, after which it will develop a report to the President and Congress with recommendations. For more information on this series of meetings, go to http://pcp.cancer.gov.

Evans to Speak on Obesity and Cancer
On September 20 from 4-6 p.m. in the Lipsett Amphitheater in the Clinical Center on the NIH campus, Dr. Ronald M. Evans of the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., will present "Nuclear Receptors and the Complex Journey to Obesity." NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni will make opening remarks at this presentation, which is part of the NCI/NIH Stars in Nutrition & Cancer Seminar Series. Dr. Evans will discuss the newest and most significant problems arising from obesity and how they relate to cancer and explain how key regulators of energy balance may control aspects of tumor growth.

This free lecture is open to the public and no registration is necessary. For more information go to: http://www3.cancer.gov/prevention/nutrition/index.html.