A Hard-Fought Battle with Ovarian Cancer

A Hard-Fought Battle with Ovarian Cancer

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Shared with our friends over at consumersafety.org

Ovarian cancer affects thousands of families each year. And despite the fact that this ailment is usually found in older women — over the age of 65 — in the case of Megan Santa Croce, it has been a devastating battle since the age of 15. Diagnosed with a sertoli-leydig tumor in her abdomen attached to one ovary, she spent months undergoing chemotherapy. And in spite of the odds, she miraculously was able to overcome her illness. But, by the age of 22, she had begun her second battle with the disease, and currently has no ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus. Megan once described her chemo as “a full-time job.” She went on to say that “when [she] was 15, [she] had five days straight of chemo, 8–5, and the doctors had [her] on hydration 24/7 through that entire five-day period.” Regardless of her hardships, she has a message for women of all ages and demographics that are fighting their own battle with ovarian cancer. “Be positive.” Powerful words that emulate her as a ray of light through even the darkest of times. Megan continues to fight on and is truly an inspiration to women everywhere.

In honor of Megan, as well as every other woman battling ovarian cancer, it is important to share the cold hard facts about a widespread condition that, if caught in the early stages, is treatable. We want to hear more inspiring stories like Megan’s and beat the odds this September, which has been designated as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

The Facts 

Ovarian cancer has recently been ranked as one of the top five most deadly cancers for women in the world. And as unfortunate as that is, most women are unaware that they have ovarian cancer or do not seek medical help until the cancer has spread and become hard to manage. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there were 22,240 new cases in the United States last year alone. By being aware of the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer, we can help to raise the survival rate of this serious disease, giving women everywhere a fighting chance after being diagnosed.

Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for ovarian cancer are uncontrollable such as age, race, genetics, and ethnicity. Additionally, there are several lifestyle related causes including obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption.

Environmental Risk Factors

The use of oral contraceptives such as birth control pills have been shown to decrease a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer for those who do not have direct family members who have at some point been diagnosed. While on the other hand, there are certain medications and even household products that may be tied to ovarian cancer due to long term use. Talcum powder, for instance, has recently been proven to be a contributing factor to a California woman’s cancer diagnosis. Johnson & Johnson was found liable of toxins found in their talcum powder to cause mutated genes in a woman’s genital area due to decades of use. Other environmental factors include herbicides and pesticides.

To Decrease Your Risk
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet every day.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise.
  • Check personal hygiene product labels for talc and other toxins. 
Prevention is Key

Having regular screenings for ovarian cancer is one of the most powerful weapons for prevention. Although many tests are unable to catch early, onset ovarian cancer development, blood tests are the best way to catch the disease.

Conclusion

Following the guidelines mentioned above is the first step in halting what has become one of the most common cancers in women around the world. The more knowledgeable one is about an ailment such as ovarian cancer, the easier it is to spot symptoms early, making treatments much more successful and increase survival rates worldwide.

Lung Cancer Awareness

Lung Cancer Awareness

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We spoke with our friends at the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center  to get a better understanding and learn about preventative measures; we will discuss these illnesses and their causes as follows:

As the leaves begin to change color and the temperatures cool down, we reflect on lung cancer and respiratory illness in the month of November. Every year, lung cancer accounts for the most deaths of any cancer, and is the leading cause of cancer death in men. While lung cancer affects hundreds of thousands of people every year, many other respiratory diseases and illnesses cause health concerns and deaths annually. Conditions such as asthma, COPD and mesothelioma can be found prevalently throughout the United States. To get a better understanding and learn about preventative measures we will discuss these illnesses and their causes as follows:

Lung Cancer

While smoking is the most notorious cause of lung cancer, many different environmental and lifestyle factors can affect the development of cancer cells in the lungs. The incidence of lung cancer is decreasing in America, partly due to anti-smoking campaigns, but the disease is still prevalent enough to account for 27% of all cancer deaths. Secondhand smoke also remains a very serious health risk, so it is imperative to be aware of your surroundings and never expose children to tobacco smoke. After smoking, radon exposure is the second largest cause of lung cancer, as the EPA estimates that the naturally-occurring gas causes 20,000 new diagnoses annually. The CDC urges smoking cessation and radon detection in the home as two effective means of combating lung cancer incidence. Treatment of lung cancer is an extensive, multi-faceted operation, usually including a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as surgical removal of affected areas.

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, known as COPD, as an umbrella term used to define several different respiratory illnesses. The most common of these illnesses are emphysema and chronic bronchitic. Similar to lung cancer, smoking is a leading cause of COPD. However, poor air quality and environmental pollutants can also be factors in a COPD diagnosis. People who work with chemicals, who are exposed to fumes such as diesel exhaust, and those who work in construction generally have a higher risk of being at risk for developing COPD-causing particulate matter. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, COPD is characterized by the loss of elasticity in lung components, which makes breathing become more difficult. The disease starts slowly and is progressive, becoming a major disability as it worsens. There is no cure known for COPD, but bronchodilators and steroid therapies have shown some promise in treatment. Most people with COPD diagnoses are middle-aged.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is rare, hyper-aggressive cancer caused by the exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral, which was used extensively in building and construction practices, up until the late-20th Century. However, those who worked closely with the substance began coming down with serious illness, which would develop decades after their initial exposure. This disease, mesothelioma, is caused when asbestos is disrupted – which causes the material to splinter and break into particulate matter. This particulate matter is then inhaled, and it becomes lodged in the lining of the organs; the most common area being the lining around the lungs. During the cancer’s latency period, cells will begin to grow uncontrollably, causing irritation and potentially tumors. Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, the patients generally have a bleak outlook; average mesothelioma life expectancy is only 12-21 months. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatment options can help with quality of life and life expectancy. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical removal are generally used in conjunction to treat the disease. However, immunotherapy has shown some promise of late – especially the drug Keytruda – in treating mesothelioma patients.

Asthma

Often overlooked due to its prognosis and commonality, asthma still remains a serious respiratory illness. Asthma is defined as a chronic lung disease in which the body’s airways are inflamed and become narrow, making breathing difficult. The National Institute of Health estimates that asthma affects for than 25 million people nationally, 7 million of which are children. The condition’s onset occurs most commonly during childhood, but many adults are also diagnosed. It is noteworthy that asthma has several forms, including work-induced (from irritants such as chemicals) and allergy-induced (usually caused by seasonal histamines, like pollen and ragweed). Asthma can be very severe when untreated, especially when an individual suffers an asthma attack; these attacks can prove fatal if not treated immediately. Asthma is generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids like Prednisone in severe cases, and bronchodilators such as Advair or Symbicort.

How to Promote Healthy Lungs

Respiratory health awareness is imperative for a healthy life. The most effective way to reduce one’s chances of lung illness is to stop smoking immediately. Safety in the workplace, particularly within the construction and manufacturing industries, including the usage of proper equipment, can help to stop your risk of exposure of toxins. Regular exercise and healthy habits can ensure your respiratory health and keep you well for years to come.

 

Hey Baby Boomers, Listen Up!

Hey Baby Boomers, Listen Up!

blog Help My Meds Medicare Medication Assistance Prescription Assistance

Hey Baby Boomers Listen Up!

What can you buy for $3.00? Not much.

Social Security Administration recently announced the cost of living adjustment for 2017 is only 0.3%. That equates to roughly $3.00 a month. These days that might get you a cup of coffee but don’t expect the sugar or the cream.  Meanwhile, your Part B premium which is your medical portion of your plan will increase and will take the entire amount. All three dollars!

At Simplefill, we believe this increase amount is “no increase.” It’s been 3 years since retirees have had a benefit increase. However, prices for goods and services continue to rise, along with the cost of medications.

The chance that the cost of your drug price will go down is about the same chance of you getting struck by lightning. It can happen, but it sure isn’t very likely.

Here at Simplefill, we suggest you take the time to review your coverage with an insurance representative. Open enrollment has started and will end December 7, 2016. It is wise to compare different plans and choose the plan that is best for you. If you cannot find a plan that covers your medications or you will hit your coverage gap, also known as “The Donut Hole”, be sure to call Simplefill so you are not stuck paying the full retail cost of your expensive medications.

Simplefill’s mission is to find solutions for retirees who have been prescribed expensive medications that they simply cannot afford.

When you call; you will speak with a Simplefill Care Coordinator who will review your medication list and find ways to help you save money. We pride ourselves by not only saving money for retirees, but also offering exceptional customer service. Our members can always speak with a live person and not a machine. We also have the latest technology where you can check your order and enrollment information using the Patient Portal at any time.

Call us today! 1-877-386-0206

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although Breast Cancer can be found in men as well, it is the most common cancer in Women. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Breast cancer is a disease I am familiar with. I have had 6 people in my life diagnosed with breast cancer at all stages and are all survivors and cancer free today! However, although they won that battle, watching what they had to endure was terrible.

Simplefill is made up of almost all woman and we feel passionate about doing our part in spreading the awareness of this disease.

Let’s first start with the facts.

• In the US, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

• The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are being female and aging. About 95% of all breast cancers in the US occur in women 40 and older.

• Getting a mammogram can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer by 30 to 40% among women ages 40 to 70.

• Breast cancer deaths have been declining since 1990 thanks to early detection, better screening, increased awareness, and new treatment options. Contact Simplefill if you have been prescribed a medication you cannot afford.

• Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.

• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.

• In the US today, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors — the largest group of all cancer survivors.

• One woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the US.

• Every 19 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer.

• A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Take a minute to read through these protective steps you can take that can help keep your risk as low as possible.

Limit alcohol. The more you drink, the higher the risk. The general recommendation is 1 drink per day.

• Don’t smoke. C’mon people, you know this! Don’t smoke. If you are having a hard time beating this habit. Contact us about getting help with Chantix – a medication proven to help patients kick the habit. APPLY HERE

• Control your weight. Again, you know this! Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer and can cause many other negative health factors.

• Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.

• Breast-feed. If you can do this, then I would recommend it. However this is a touchy subject since there is a lot of unnecessary pressure put on moms and if this is not an option, don’t stress yourself out. Like you don’t have enough on your plate already!

• Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for over three years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you.

• Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation. Some research indicates a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary.

• Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history.

Simplefill is a full-service prescription assistance company that is dedicated to making prescribed medications affordable for our members. We have been able to help many of our patients afford their treatments.
The following is a list of medications that we can help with. If you need help with a medication that is not listed on here, Contact Us to find out if we can still help.

Drugs Approved to Prevent Breast Cancer

• Evista (Raloxifene Hydrochloride)
• Keoxifene (Raloxifene Hydrochloride)
• Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate)

Drugs Approved to Treat Breast Cancer

• Abitrexate (Methorexate)
• Abraxane
• Afinitor
• Arimidex (Anastrozole)
• Aromosin
• Cabectabine
• Cytoxan (Cyclophosphamide)
• Faslodex
• Femara (Letrozole)
• Gemzar (Gemcitabine Hydrochloride)
• Herceptin (Trastuzumab)
• Ibrance (Palbociclib)
• Megestrol Acetate
• Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate)
• Taxotere (Docetaxel)
• Tykerb (Lapatinib Ditosylate)
• Xeloda (Capecitabine)
• Zoladex (Gosereline Acetate)

Call Simplefill today to learn how we can help. 1-877-386-0206 Ext. 1

The Medicare Donut Hole Explained

The Medicare Donut Hole Explained

Medication Assistance

What is the Donut Hole?

The coverage gap, commonly called the “Donut Hole” is a temporary limit on what your Medicare Prescription drug plan will pay for your prescription drug costs.

While you are in the “Donut Hole”, you will pay higher costs of for your brand-name drugs. Often times these increased costs make your medications unaffordable.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, call Simplefill Prescription Assistance programs to enroll in their program during this period. 1-877-386-0206

The experts at Simplefill make understanding your Medicare Part D plan…well Simple!

There are 4 stages to your part D plan. Let’s break it down for you.

Stage 1: Deductible Phase
In this stage, you must pay a certain amount out of pocket before your prescription drug plan will kick in. This amount varies by plan.

Stage 2: Initial Coverage Phase
After you hit your deductible, you will start paying the plan’s cost share for covered medications. Once you and your prescription plan have spent $3,310.00 in 2016 for covered drugs; you’ve reached the “Donut Hole”.

Stage 3: The Donut Hole, Coverage Gap Phase
This is the stage where you start getting that sticker shock. Unless you want to wait until January 1st when your plan resets, you will now be paying 50% of the retail price of your medications. This can be very expensive and not an option for most patients, especially ones who are on fixed incomes.
This is why we urge you to contact us at 1-877-386-0206 or apply for assistance online.

Stage 4: Catastrophic Phase
You get a bit of a break in this stage since you have spent so much out of pocket for the year. During the catastrophic stage, you pay whichever amount is greater –either 5% of the covered drug cost or $2.65 for generics and $6.60 for brand name drugs.

What if I am not in the coverage gap but I still cannot afford my medications or my medication is not covered at all?
It never hurts to pick up the phone and ask. Often times we can help patients when their medication is not covered or if they have a copay is unaffordable. We always advise our patients to call us and we can find them the best way to save money on their medications. Think of the team at Simplefill as your Medication Savings Advisors!

Celebrating National Blood Pressure Month With Healthy Habits

Celebrating National Blood Pressure Month With Healthy Habits

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This May, make your heart a priority. It deserves it after all: it’s hard at work every day, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body. At SimpleFill we’re celebrating National Blood Pressure Month with by learning what you can do to keep your heart healthy. Continue reading

Chronic Disease Series: Fibromyalgia

Chronic Disease Series: Fibromyalgia

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Unyielding pain, sleep loss, feelings of depression—these are just some of the symptoms that fibromyalgia patients live with every day. In this blog, we outline some of the basic details of this enigmatic and painful disorder as part of our Chronic Disease Series. Continue reading

Relax and Recharge for National Stress Management Month

Relax and Recharge for National Stress Management Month

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The stress of having a chronic illness infiltrates all aspects of life. Contrary to popular belief, stress isn’t just an unpleasant emotional state, it affects you right down to the cellular level. As a result, when you’re suffering from unchecked stress, your body isn’t as able to do its best at fighting illness. Continue reading

Simplefill: Why We Decided to Help Provide Medication Assistance

Simplefill: Why We Decided to Help Provide Medication Assistance

Help My Meds Medication Assistance Prescription Assistance

Many Americans are facing an impossible choice: Should they go into debt to get the medications they need, or should they risk their lives to spare their wallet? At Simplefill, we don’t believe anyone should have to struggle with this dilemma. Americans are feeling crippled by the escalating price of medications and they don’t know where to turn. Simplefill offers a solution with our response to increasing medical costs.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): The Symptoms, Treatments & Medications

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): The Symptoms, Treatments & Medications

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly known as COPD, is one of the country’s most common illnesses, but at Simplefill Prescription Assistance, we have found that it is also one of the most misunderstood. The term describes a condition where airways to the lungs are partially blocked, making it difficult to draw breath. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are both forms of COPD.

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