Cancer takes heavy toll on women’s work, finances, study shows

Young women with cancer are at a high risk for employment and financial consequences, a new study finds.

“Our study addresses the burden of employment disruption and financial hardship among young women with cancer — a group who may be at particular risk for poor financial outcomes after cancer given their age and gender,” said researcher Clare Meernik, a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 women in North Carolina and California a median of seven years after diagnosis. Their cancer was diagnosed when they were 15 to 39 years of age and working.

Following their diagnosis, 32% of the women had to stop working or cut back on their hours. Twenty-seven percent said they had to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy because of cancer treatment.

Women with disrupted employment were more likely — by 17 percentage points — to have these problems than women who were able to keep working.

Half of the women said they were stressed about their big medical bills, and women with disrupted employment were more likely to suffer psychological distress by 8 percentage points than women who were able to keep working.

The findings were published online Oct. 12 in the journal Cancer.

“Our findings highlight the need for effective interventions to promote job maintenance and transition back to the workforce after cancer treatment, as well as increased workplace accommodations and benefits, to improve cancer outcomes for young women,” Meernik said in a journal news release.

More information

To learn more about work and financial effects of cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Health Coverage Takes Big Hit With Pandemic-Related Job Cuts | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter


TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance (18%) and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for 55% of total job losses.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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New England Journal of Medicine editorial takes aim at Trump administration: “This election gives us the power to render judgment”

The New England Journal of Medicine made a rare political move Wednesday, publishing an editorial by dozens of U.S. editors who denounced the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said this election “gives us the power to render judgment.” 

The editorial, titled “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” does not explicitly endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, but the editors’ message is clear — the current leadership must change.

“Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government, causing damage that will certainly outlast them. Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies,” the editorial says. 

“Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences,” the editorial added. “Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment.”

The editorial notes that, while some deaths in the U.S. were inevitable, tens of thousands could have been saved with a better response.

Meanwhile, President Trump is claiming personal victory over the virus, saying he feels great as he presumably continues to still be shedding the virus. The president said it was a “blessing from God” that he contracted COVID-19, so he can encourage greater access for the experimental drugs he used.

“I feel great. I feel like, perfect,” the president said in a four-minute video posted to Twitter. “I think this was a blessing from God, that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. I said, let me take it. And it was incredible the way it worked, incredible. And I think if I didn’t catch it, we’d be looking at that like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job. I want to get for you what I got. I’m going to make it free, you’re not going to pay for it.”

Meanwhile, “isolation carts” have been set up in the West Wing, where staff can pull personal protective equipment in order to interact with the president.

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Opinion | A Sick Donald Trump Takes His Own Medicine. How Will That Go?

He wants you to believe that the worst of his infection has passed because he was strong enough to sit at a table and be photographed signing a document. He wants you to believe that he is getting better because he took a ride in a Secret Service SUV. He wants you to believe he’s out of the woods because he’s getting out of the hospital. “Don’t be afraid of Covid,” he wrote in his tweet Monday afternoon. “Don’t let it dominate your life”—an easy thing to say if you’re the recipient of the best (and free) 24-7 health care in the world. He wants you to believe that all is well because he’s “getting great reports from the doctors,” as he said in a Sunday video from Walter Reed. If he’s really getting such great reports from the docs, he must be the first sick person in history to conceal the actual evidence that he’s getting better.

As with Trump’s let’s-sweep-it-under-the-rug policy toward Covid-19, his decision to throttle the flow of information about his illness to a dribble has only encouraged speculation and criticism from the press and the medical establishment. His doctors continue to give us upbeat news about Trump’s health but decline to answer questions that might reflect poorly on his recovery. Consider: We know he contracted Covid-19, but we don’t know precisely when or the date of his last negative Covid-19 test. We know he had a fever on Friday but not how high it was. We know he was administered oxygen on Friday and that his blood-oxygen level dropped again on Saturday but his doctors won’t clarify if he was given oxygen again. We don’t know if he suffered lung damage or if he had pneumonia. We don’t know how or where he contracted the disease but we know that at least 30 people (and counting) recently in his immediate orbit—wife Melania, White House and campaign staffers, senators, White House journalists, former Gov. Chris Christie, the president of Notre Dame, and others—have also tested positive. We also don’t know exactly why doctors treated Trump with the steroid dexamethasone, which is usually reserved for severe Covid-19 cases, or why doctors dosed him with experimental drugs. Has he lost the senses of taste and smell? And that’s only the overview (see Science magazine for more details).

As Trump returns to the White House, presumably still infectious, the press corps will meet him with a new round of questions. Will the president quarantine himself to the White House’s upstairs living quarters to prevent the contagion from spreading? Will Trump be isolated or will he be domiciled with his wife, who also has Covid-19? Who will be allowed to visit him, and what medical precautions will they take? How wise is it for him to return to the White House, which seems to be the center of an environmental cluster of infections? Are the experimental treatments continuing? When will we learn more about his medical history? Would Trump have

Trump takes a brief car ride, ignoring own COVID infection

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Infected and contagious, President Donald Trump briefly ventured out in a motorcade on Sunday to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain the deadly virus that has forced his hospitalization and killed more than 209,000 Americans.

Hours earlier, Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. Still, the doctors said Trump’s health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.

With one month until Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness. The still-infectious president surprised supporters who had gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, driving by in a black SUV with the windows rolled up. Secret Service agents inside the vehicle could be seen in masks and other protective gear.

The move capped a weekend of contradictions that fueled confusion about Trump’s health, which has imperiled the leadership of the U.S. government and upended the final stages of the presidential campaign. While Trump’s physician offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president’s health by other officials.

In a short video released by the White House on Sunday, Trump insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise.

“This is insanity,” Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Trump and his handling of the pandemic. “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die.”

“For political theater,” the doctor added. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s trip outside the hospital “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.” He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.

Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden, who has taken a far more cautious approach to in-person events, had two negative tests on Friday.

For his part, Trump still faces questions about his health.

His doctors sidestepped questions on Sunday about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped — an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with

Kentucky governor takes action as state fights becoming next COVID-19 hot spot

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vowed to halt a recent escalation of COVID-19 cases after reporting 17 more coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, marking one of the state’s highest one-day death tolls since the outbreak began earlier this year.

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

© Bryan Woolston/Reuters, FILE
Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

“What that shows is we are — in our total case count — in an escalation, meaning last week was more; this week will be more than that, it appears,” Beshear told reporters at a press conference Thursday.

State health officials reported 910 new coronavirus cases on Thursday after shattering records earlier this week, with rural and urban areas seeing massive spikes in new infections. Of the newly reported cases, 146 were children under the age of 18 with the youngest victim being 3 months old.

MORE: Health officials urge Americans to get flu vaccine as concerns mount over possible ‘twindemic’

Last week the state saw its highest total of new infections reported over a seven-day period, but the governor said the state was on track to top that figure this week.

“When we have a lot of cases, sadly a lot of death follows,” Beshear warned.

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

© Bryan Woolston/Reuters, FILE
Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

The 17 coronavirus-related fatalities reported on Thursday followed four COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday.

The new deaths meant that as of Thursday, a total of 1,191 people had died from the coronavirus in Kentucky since the start of the pandemic. Seniors above the age of 80 account for more than half of those deaths.

Residents between the ages of 20 and 49 account for the bulk of statewide cases, but health officials are urging residents of all ages to take the virus seriously. People in the 20-29 age group appear to have the highest rates of diagnosis, according to state data.

To help combat the spread of the virus during Halloween, Beshear asked parents keep their children away from crowds and to use another approach to traditional trick-or-treating. He and state health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack asked residents to place individually wrapped candy outside on their porches, driveways or tables in lieu of the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating.

“We have put together the best guidance we can for Halloween to be safe. But we can’t do things exactly like we did them before, and we all ought to know that,” Beshear said. “Having a big party right now during COVID puts everybody at risk. Let’s not ruin Halloween for our kids by it spreading a virus that can harm people they love.”

MORE: Gov. Reeves takes action as Mississippi shapes up to become nation’s next COVID-19 hot