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Patient Leader Erika Hanson Brown Urges the Senate Finance Committee to #RepealDeviceTax

Recently, the Senate Finance Committee Health Tax Task Force held a meeting to discuss the medical device tax.

While the 2.3% excise tax on medical technology sales is currently suspended, time is running out for Congress to fully repeal the tax before it goes into effect in 2020. A panel of five speakers participated in the meeting – including CEOs of small businesses, medical research advocates, and patient leader Erika Hanson Brown.

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Patient Leader Spotlight: Mark Judge

Cancer recovery is brutal. Five years ago, I had no idea how difficult this journey would be when doctors first told me I had colon cancer. Now, I’m celebrating three years with no evidence of disease (NED), but after all I went through, I know I wouldn’t be here without the medical imaging that guided my treatment.

When my cancer journey started, I was just going in for what I hoped would be routine rotator cuff surgery. My low iron levels were a cause for concern for my doctor, who ordered a colonoscopy. I had no family history of colorectal cancer, the test revealed I had a mass in my colon, and testing confirmed that it was cancer.

To say that the next six years were difficult is an understatement. I had dozens of scans, surgeries and radiation treatments. At every development, this journey was made more difficult by the constant anxiety over “not knowing.”  Would the disease progress? Which treatments were working? I was living scan to scan for answers. 

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Men’s Health Awareness Week

In the United States, men are less likely than women to visit their healthcare providers. Regular screenings are essential for detecting disease early and beginning therapy at a treatable stage. Every June, we recognize Men's Health Week to raise awareness and promote regular screenings for early detection among men.

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The Value of Focused Ultrasound: Thomas’ Story

When Dr. Gluck told Thomas he had early-stage prostate cancer, all Thomas could hear was the word “cancer.” Cancer had taken his brother’s life, and he had been helping his wife fight the disease for years. As Thomas tells it, hearing his diagnosis meant “for a second my body just shut down. I couldn’t think straight; my thoughts were all over the place.”

When he got the news, however, he wasn’t alone. His wife, Andrea, was sitting next to him and quickly snapped him out of his trance. Brought back to his senses, Thomas listened carefully as Dr. Gluck explained the diagnosis and treatment options.

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Patient Spotlight: Kyle Fernandez

I was in kindergarten when my symptoms started. My hands would shake uncontrollably, and my worried kindergarten teacher told my parents that their son “shook a lot.”

At first, doctors thought my shaking was a reaction to the medicine I was taking to treat my asthma. I couldn’t just stop taking this medication, but this turned out to be just the first wrong diagnosis in a long line of them. Next doctors told me that the shaking wasn’t a side effect of any medication I was taking but was early onset of Parkinson’s disease.

In fact, it took nearly 13 years after the symptoms started to correctly diagnose the cause of the uncontrolled shaking in my hands, which was finally and correctly identified as essential tremor. While I was relieved to hear it was not Parkinson’s disease – which I had grappled coming to terms with for most of my adolescent years – I still wasn’t sure what this new diagnosis would mean for me.

With my correct diagnosis, a long discussion began about how to treat my tremors. First, I was prescribed medicine traditionally used to treat epilepsy. It succeeded in mitigating symptoms, but the treatment also made me feel horrible and listless. I felt like a zombie and decided to stop taking the medication and search for alternative treatment.

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Controlling Cancer with Medical Imaging

For more than 80 years, April has been recognized as National Cancer Control Month. From President Roosevelt to President Trump, each President has spoken directly to the American people on the importance of raising awareness about the factors that cause or prevent cancer.

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Congress is Taking Action to Protect Medical Innovation – Now It’s Your Turn!

This week, bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives took action to permanently repeal the medical device tax, which would take money away from American medical innovation and contribute to the unsustainably high cost of medical care in the United States.

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Thanks to Focused Ultrasound, Kimberly Can Walk Again

I’d always been a physically active person. Like so many others, staying active helped me keep a clear head and forget the troubles of everyday life–if only for the briefest of moments.

This came to an abrupt end in 2010. What I thought was a pulled muscle in my lower back turned into a pain that only worsened. As it spread, I started losing control over different areas of my body, beginning with my feet.

Unprompted, my toes would curl up under my feet, making it impossible to walk or even put shoes on at times. It became clear something was seriously wrong, so I decided to see a doctor.

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March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

 

Nineteen years ago, President Clinton declared March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Increases in colorectal cancer screening have saved thousands of lives as colorectal cancer is often treatable when caught early. Research shows that people with access to less invasive forms of screening, such as CT colonography, are more likely to undergo testing.

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Physician Spotlight: Dr. Robert Pugach

Fate took an interesting turn when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2016. For almost three decades I had practiced urology, helping patients navigate the uncertainty of a threatening but treatable disease. Now, as a medical professional, I knew all too well what the results of a biopsy showed: a small focus of cancer on my prostate.

I was fortunate to have it diagnosed at a very early stage.  Since another family member had prostate cancer ten years earlier, I knew I was at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, so I made sure to have frequent PSA blood tests and prostate exams. 

My choice of treatment was based, in large part, on quality of life issues afterward. I chose to avoid invasive surgery because in my 34 years of urology practice, I had seen many men who experienced life-altering side effects including erectile dysfunction and permanent urinary incontinence. I decided against radiation because of the potential for high recurrence rates. In the end, there was only one clear path forward for me: high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

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