When Can State Law Prevent Breast Cancer Victims From Receiving Workers Compensation

Battling breast cancer is scary all by itself. But it’s much worse when you have to worry about coddling family members who don’t know what to say or how to act, deal with insurance company reps who don’t want to cut you a fair deal, and contend with unfair state laws or inflated costs of care no one could possibly afford. Sometimes, workers compensation laws allow victims or survivors of cancer to recoup costs. That’s because certain types of work are carcinogenic, i.e. they can cause cancer or have been shown to include groups of people who seem to have higher rates of cancer. 

Laurianna Sargent was one such person who thought she would be covered under workers comp laws in New Mexico, where a Presumptive Cause Bill stated clearly that cancer care costs should be covered when your job sometimes causes cancer. Sargent was a volunteer firefighter for over twenty years. It only makes sense that she thought her employers would be willing to show her the same compassion she showed victims of fire for those two decades.

But that’s not what happened. Why? Because cancer diagnoses are more likely as a person gets older. The law presumes that a person only has the right to workers comp if the job had enough time to cause the cancer. What determines that period of time? Unclear.

Sargent explained, “Mine was not covered, because I was not diagnosed before the age of forty. Typically most women don’t get sent to get their first mammogram until they’re forty.”

In this case, the law seems to posit that a woman should not be covered if she is diagnosed with breast cancer before she would normally be screened for it. As so many people with illnesses have had to do already, Sargent set up a GoFundMe so she can relieve some of the crushing financial strain. Meanwhile, her case hasn’t gone unnoticed. AFR representatives are trying to amend the Presumptive Cause Bill so women don’t have to go through the same ordeal as Sargent.

Out of the eleven people diagnosed with cancer in AFR, three haven’t been covered under current guidelines. We reached out to Sargent to inquire whether or not she considered retaining the services of a workers compensation lawyer, but she has yet to respond to our request for comment.

A new California bill, AB 479, would help reduce the number of noncompliant workers’ comp claims and practices. The American Medical Association has a specific set of guidelines for how to process such claims, and it was noted that this process was often subverted or ignored in many workplaces.

AB479 would mandate doctors to determine exactly which work-related impairments were caused by breast cancer. The reason that the bill surfaced was because many workers who have struggled with cancer face a set of lifelong physical, mental, and financial consequences that workers comp payments rarely reflect.

The Most Effective Breast Cancer Treatments 2020

A new five-year study recently concluded in Greece: “The structure-function relationship of oncogenic LMTK3.” The study was conducted by seven institutions in a collaboration effort between three countries in order to determine the structure of LMTK3, which is an important component in the cellular control center. Scientists already know that LMTK3 makes various cancer treatments ineffective. The question is why.

Professor Georgios Giamas os Cancer Cell Signaling at the University of Sussex said, “By solving the crystal structure of LMTK3, we have demonstrated that it possesses all of the hallmarks of an active protein kinase. LMTK3 plays a pivotal role in controlling cellular processes, and we have previously shown that active LMTK3 makes some cancer treatments (eg. chemotherapy and endocrine therapies) less effective.”

Reversing this trend could result in new therapies for various forms of cancer, breast cancer included.

Giamas said, “We are now in the process of taking this research to the next stage by developing LMTK3 specific drugs. We hope that in the next five years we will be undertaking clinical trials, which is incredibly quick for this type of process.”

Also this week, Docwirenews reported a new set of data on the connection between diagnosis timing and socioeconomic status, which is relevant to coronavirus. COVID-19 case rates have resulted in increased wait times between appointments and follow-up appointments. This has resulted in those who have trouble finding money for food and housing to take even longer getting diagnosed with cancer.

Assistant professor of radiology at the Boston University School of Medicine, Michael D. Fishman, M.D., said, “Our findings indicate longer lapses between diagnostic imaging and biopsy for patients with unmet social needs, which begs the question: are unmet social needs associated with some amount of breast cancer mortality that could have been prevented? We seek to investigate this in future work.”

Should Breast Cancer Patients Prepare Differently For Potential Hurricanes?

The short answer is “yes.” Breast cancer patients should prepare for every possible contingency — and differently than they might if they were already healthy. This might seem like a time-consuming burden (and possibly an expensive one, too), but it could save your life. Marian Von-Maszewski, M.D. is an associate medical director of Critical Care at MD Anderson. She recently helped breast cancer patients prepare relevant checklists due to the increased number of tropical storms and hurricanes this past season.

Marian said, “Cancer patients are often at greater risk of contracting an infection. So, try to get everything you need early on to avoid the last-minute crowds in stores. It’s almost impossible to maintain adequate social distancing in those situations. And that could prove to be more dangerous than the storm itself.”

She brings up the important point that while COVID-19 is still a threat, you should keep general social distancing and sanitization precautions in mind when completing any relevant checklist. This is because those with underlying conditions are at greater risk of becoming seriously endangered by COVID-19. Breast cancer is one doozy of an underlying condition.

In order to make sure that you lose as little as possible in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster or storm, you should ensure that homes and vehicles are covered by insurance. Hurricane damage insurance claims can be a hassle when the relevant coverage isn’t just right.

Von-Maszewski added, “Evacuation could pose a risk. Face masks will be especially important if patients have to stay in crowded shelters.”

Those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk during these kinds of natural disasters because of a variety of factors that crop up during or after the event. For example, flooding is common after a hurricane. Standing water can mean an easy source of infection because they are excellent mosquito breeding grounds. Especially bad storms can leave debris that can lead to injury for those who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.

MD Anderson’s checklist is simple. First and foremost, keep several weeks worth of food and water on hand. In addition, ensure that you have access to needed medications should the worst happen. Another important thing to keep in mind: you might lose access to electronic data if the power goes out for an extended period of time. If this happens, you’ll want to know the medications you need renewed and the proper dosages. Are there medications that need to be refrigerated? Keep enough ice in the freezer so you can transfer it to a heavy duty cooler if the power goes out. 

The final steps include making sure you have the quickest route to the nearest emergency rooms written down. Make sure you have extra gas stored away so you always have enough for a full tank! You’ll want to coordinate with your insurance company to avoid any problems down the road — like when one hospital is covered but another is not. 

New Instagram Series Published In Time For Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A breast cancer diagnosis in 2020 hits much harder than it did last year or the year before that, because families are already struggling to avoid financial ruin brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s part of the reasoning behind Novartis Oncology’s recent video series on IGTV, which tries to raise awareness for breast cancer patients’ needs, which have change dramatically in the last seven months.

Senior Vice President Shannon Campbell at Novartis Oncology said, “Patients are experiencing different emotions at this point in 2020 that are so different from 2019 as they’re navigating a breast cancer diagnosis. We wanted to be mindful of the differences and make sure that our resources, approach and campaign match the tone and tenor in the environment we find ourselves in now versus last year.”

The posted on Instagram alongside the hashtag #Makeyourdialoguecount in order to seek out new donations this October: “Today is #MetastaticBreastCancerAwarenessDay. This year alone, an estimated 279,100 people in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. In the comments below, share who you’re honoring today (and yes, that included honoring yourself!).”

Campbell added: “It wasn’t that many years ago that metastatic breast cancer didn’t really have a voice. The voice was about the pink ribbon movement and early breast cancer. Now, what you can see in our branded communications and in our unbranded support communications is this idea of metastatic breast cancer women as not only survivors but able to thrive.”

Novartis is known for its cutting edge treatments, which include kinase inhibitors to treat advanced breast cancer. These are drugs that block kinase enzymes, which are present in human cells to perform specific functions like signaling, division, metabolism, etc. Some kinases are present in cancer cells also, which is why blocking them can provide a beneficial treatment when nothing else works.

Can You Acquire Disability Benefits When You Have Breast Cancer?

The coronavirus pandemic has made most of our lives more complicated. For some of us that means juggling work with the kids, who are home from school. For some that means being out of a job and having few prospects for finding new work. For others that means dealing with the pressures of already having a long-term illness or disease — like breast cancer — and knowing that you could come down with coronavirus, or, in the worst case scenario this autumn: the flu and COVID-19 together. 

That’s why many of our readers have inquired about the potential for disability benefits under certain circumstances. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States, which means there is no better time to answer these questions.

Breast cancer survival rates have gotten much more promising in the last decade. Also, victims of breast cancer are spending less time out of work — but that also means fewer options for disability benefits. When you can work, you should work. But if working hurts you or makes it more likely for the cancerous cells to spread out of control, then of course you should do everything in your power to fight back, rest, and recuperate before worrying about your job. You can’t lose your job because you’re sick.

Why should you strive to work when you can? Senior Leave and Disability Consultant for Unum, Mandy Stogner, said, “Work often provides a sense of normalcy and support for employees of breast cancer during a time of uncertainty. This is why the role of employers is so important during diagnosis, treatment, and return to work.”

Depression should be staved off for as long as possible, and work can help. Disability benefits should only be a last resort. When working is no longer an option, those benefits are available — but timing is everything because those benefits are notorious for long lines.

HR Manager for Rapid API, Sophie Summers, said, “In the initial stage of breast cancer, you have to cross more miles to get disability benefits. Those suffering from stage 3 or above are more likely to medically qualify, but there are still ways to get some benefits, such as coverage of medications.”

Liz Supinksi, Data Science Director for the Society for Human Resource Management, described the process to qualify for disability: “…Most people who are able to qualify for disability benefits are not working for others. Self-employment is common enough among both disabled workers and those with disabilities severe enough to qualify for benefits.”

Doctors can help you determine when to start or stop work, which can impact when and how your benefits are acquired. 

Attorney Stephanie Fajuri for the Cancer Legal Resource Center in Los Angeles said, “In some circumstances, the doctor will say, ‘She’s doing great, she has less pain.’ While those are certainly positive things for the patient, in the context of a disability application, it does not look good.”

She added, “Make sure the doctor not only supports your disability [application], but that medical records support it.”

Beware Of Breastfeeding Misinformation During Coronavirus Pandemic

Breastfeeding practices are apparently on a significant downturn since the coronavirus outbreak began, for the most part due to a great deal of misinformation. The fear is that it could damage development in newborns. There is no reliable information to support this fear. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises new parents who wish to breastfeed to do so for at least six months to a year. This advice has yet to change in response to the outbreak.

But rumors have caused breastfeeding to plummet across the globe.

Alex Iellama, global adviser at Save the Children UK, said, “In certain hospitals the breastfeeding rates…dropped by 40 to 50 percent.”

Nutritional legal specialist David Clark said, “When babies are born, their immune systems aren’t really functioning yet. Nature has intended that they get their initial immunity from the mother’s breast milk. We know that up until now…there’s been no evidence of transmission of active of active COVID virus through breast milk, so breastfeeding is still very important and to be protected.”

Some rumors say that coronavirus can spread through a mother’s milk. Others that the viral load in the air can land in pumped milk and contaminate it. There is no reason to believe in these rumors or any others. Trustworthy information will continue to be disseminated by the WHO and CDC and other reputable organizations.

Clark added, “Each country will determine what is the best way to reach the policymakers, but then of course it has to get down to the mothers, the caregivers. We’re trying to ensure that we’re all getting the same message. We’re making sure that we have the same information that is consistent and that it’s using whatever media is appropriate in the context.”

Keep in mind that babies have no natural immunity to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. But the disease seems to be much more dangerous to older generations, unlike the flu, which targets both younger and older.

Are Women More Likely To Be Infected By The Novel Coronavirus Covid-19?

One news story recently pointed out the impact that Covid-19 is already having on American families by describing the events that led to one breast cancer survivor’s death due to the virus. That story led a lot of people to ask the question: Could women be more susceptible to the virus than men? The short answer is that we just don’t know yet. Covid-19 is just beginning to spread in the United States and the data doesn’t support any conclusions.

That’s because scientists are still learning how the virus is spread. They believe that traces of Covid-19 can survive on surfaces for up to three days, but have no proof that any cases involved this kind of transmission. They also believe that victims who have yet to display any symptoms of the virus can infect others for days before they get sick themselves.

That’s a problem when it comes to preventing transmission.

The United Nations is currently mobilizing its response to the virus that is ripping across Europe. Thousands have already died in Italy, where the number of deaths actually surpassed those in China. 

Acting Head of the Health Section of UNICEF Luwei Pearson said, “China is not a conventional recipient of UNICEF aid anymore. However, it is a strategic partner. That’s why we always pay attention to what happens in China… In light of the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa we are prepared in terms of programs, planning, supplies, and stockpiling of key commodities to deal with common diseases and threats. This preparedness is really critical to allow for timely action.”

Many have pointed out that reactions in Europe and the United States have been blunted by misinformation. For Chinese citizens, this is the third such pandemic that has threatened their physical and financial wellbeing. That’s why they were able to react to it as quickly and efficiently as they did. But Americans and Europeans have utterly failed in that regard, and the virus shows no signs of slowing down or stopping as soon as it did in China.

UNICEF believes that at-home schooling via the Internet is one of the best ways to prevent transmission from child to child. Pearson said, “As early as January, UNICEF — both in China and in New York — worked together to support healthy home learning so that children could continue to interact with others, have a healthy space, and be mindful.”

She added, “And we interact with children on social media on how to deal with stress. So it’s a really important learning curve.”

Hopefully we can all learn about Covid-19 quickly in order to prevent its seemingly inevitable spread.

Milk Could Increase Your Chance Of Breast Cancer

New studies have shown that some women are more likely to come down with breast cancer later in life if they were big dairy milk drinkers earlier. Shockingly, the rate of breast cancer increased up to 80 percent. Isn’t that ironic? The very organ that produces milk can be destroyed by it! Still, readers should understand that one study doesn’t result in definitive conclusions. Additional science is required.

The study was conducted by the Loma Linda University of Health.

Lead author Gary E. Fraser said, “Consuming as little as ¼ to ⅓ cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 percent. By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50 percent, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70 percent to 80 percent.”

That means even a small amount of dairy consumption can wreak havoc on the body, if the conclusions of the study are proved true. Fraser said there is “fairly strong evidence that either dairy milk or some other factor closely related to drinking dairy milk is a cause of breast cancer in women.”

That means that drinking dairy is not necessarily the direct cause. For example, milk drinkers might be more inclined toward other types of foods or activities that could be the actual link to cancer. 

Although the United States Dietary guidelines recommend that adults drink around three cups of milk each day, this study urges milk drinkers to air on the side of caution. It’s also worth noting that dairy is no longer on the food pyramid, which has changed. Dairy was not originally going to be placed on the pyramid at all but for the lobbyists who spent millions putting it there.

The study included dietary information on 53,000 North American women over a period of eight years. All these women were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. At the end of the eight-year period, 1,057 cancer cases developed. 

Fraser said, “Dairy foods, especially milk, were associated with increased risk, and the data predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk. This raises the possibility that dairy-alternate milks may be an optimal choice.”

When asked why milk might increase the risk of breast cancer, Fraser said that there is a sex hormone present in dairy milk because of when cows are normally milked and cancer responds to hormones. “Dairy milk does have some positive nutritional qualities,” he said. “But these need to be balanced against other possible, less helpful effects. This work suggests the urgent need for further research.”

The Breast Conspiracy Theory You Ever Heard

People will do whatever it takes when it comes to refuting the terrifying claims of climate change scientists. Burger King recently began selling the “Impossible Whopper” as a way to combat climate change, which is in part caused by our dependence on cattle. Cows, in case you didn’t know, burp and fart methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Cutting our reliance on meat could very much reduce the amount of this gas we put into the atmosphere.

Like clockwork, though, people have found a way to cast doubt on the Impossible Whopper. According to conspiracy theorists, eating too much of the burger will result in bigger boobs — but only if you’re male. 

One tweet said: “Healthy young man goes to Burger King, gets pumped with a massive shot of Impossible Whoppers, doesn’t feel good and changes – BREASTS. Many such cases!”

It’s almost like the Twitter user pulled from the exact syntax and diction that Trump uses when he lies about something for no reason.

Another user tweeted: “Sure, let’s turn our boys into girls fast!!! What a great agenda!”

One more wrote: “Social engineering is not enough apparently these days, so let’s do it with the food that we eat!”

Tri-State Livestock News reported on December 20, 2019 that the burgers contain an abundance of estrogen: “There are 1 million nanograms (ng) in one milligram (mg). That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs in a male.”

One has to wonder if the source of information is reputable, though…After all, Tri-State Livestock News sounds like an organization with a slight bias toward, well, livestock. 

And experts say differently as well. 

New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle had this to say: “Asians have been eating soy products for millennia and don’t seem to be any worse for it. They have among the longest lifespans and best health, at least in classic diets.”

Plus, Asian males don’t seem to be growing boobs at a high rate when compared to their Caucasian counterparts, especially here in the United States where obesity rates continue to skyrocket out of control.

Nestle said, “There is a special concern about…men and boys who eat soy products, but again, if you look at populations that eat a lot of soy products, there is no evidence of particular problems. No, they don’t grow breasts.”

And the health benefits surely outweigh the outrageous concerns. 

Nestle concluded: “My take on soy products is that they’re foods like any other, and like any other, they should be eaten in moderation.”

Eye-Tracking Tech Employed In Boob Creation

Sounds like an April Fool’s Day headline, right? But it’s real. Scientists want to know exactly what people are staring at when an attractive breast is in sight — or rather, they want to know exactly which breasts are aesthetically pleasing and which are not. This, they say, is the first step in using science to create the perfect man-made boob for those who require plastic surgery (or elect to have it: it’s your own business after all).

The Polish-led study analyzed what 50 men and 50 women were looking at by using the eye-tracking technology. Sexual preference was not a factor in deciding which men and women were allowed to join the oddball study. Instead, they were described only as Caucasian or male and female. 

Scientists published the study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Lead author Piotr Pietruski said, “Terms such as ‘beauty’ or ‘aesthetics’ are subjective and thus poorly defined and understood. Due to this fact, both aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery suffer from the lack of a standardized method of postoperative results analysis…Eye-tracking technology enables quantitative analysis of observer’s visual perception of specific stimuli, such as comprehension of breast aesthetics and symmetry.”

A variety of breast shapes and sizes were used: saggy boobs, perky boobs, big boobs, small boobs, etc. Participants were asked to rank each boob on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most mouth-watering, errrr, we mean, “attractive.” Interestingly, though, all breasts utilized white pigmentation. Doesn’t seem fair, but we’ll wait for other scientists to judge before we try to understand the reasoning behind the decision.

Pietruski said, “Personally, I believe that the most important potential application of eye-tracking technology could be the development of an artificial intelligence-based algorithm for the analysis of various body regions’ attractiveness.”

It seems that belief is venturing into dangerous waters, however, because humans’ appeal slides back and forth on a spectrum depending on the day and age. It doesn’t stay put. One century we might prefer our men more muscular, our women more big-boned, the next we might prefer our men more metrosexual, our women more stick-thin. 

If we teach AI software to recognize what someone finds attractive, then we risk standardizing the exact type of physical appeal for all future generations based on what applications we use for that AI — such as deciding on physical traits for babies before they’re even born.

Either way, the eye-tracking tech might be a boon to boob reconstruction or augmentation for those individuals who need it for whatever reason. They might be able to choose the exact characteristics they desire before a surgery is performed — or maybe they’ll be provided a set of images and let the eye-tracking software decide for them.