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Health Highlights: May 4, 2018

High Insurance Deductibles Lead Breast Cancer Patients to Delay Care: Study Utz Recalls Tortilla Chips Doctors Remove 132-Pound Tumor From Woman

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

High Insurance Deductibles Lead Breast Cancer Patients to Delay Care: Study

High health insurance deductibles cause some American women with breast cancer to delay care, according to a new study.

Researchers found that women who were newly-diagnosed with breast cancer were more likely to put off getting diagnostic imaging and biopsies if they had had insurance plans with deductibles of at least $1,000, The New York Times reported.

These women delayed starting chemotherapy by an average of seven months, according to Dr. J. Frank Wharam, a Harvard researcher and one of the study authors.

"Slight delays added up to long delays," he said, The Times reported.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers did not examine the women's outcomes after treatment, but experts say that even a short delay between diagnosis and treatment can be significant. Survival rates are higher for patients with some cancers if they receive early treatment, The Times reported.

Dr. Ethan Basch, the director of cancer outcomes research at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said finances often influence patients' decisions. He was not involved in the study.

If patients face high out-of-pocket costs, "they're of a mind-set to avoid visits, expensive treatments," he told The Times. "They have a fear."

More than half of the questions to the helpline at the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity are about financial assistance, according to Susan Brown, senior director of education and patient support.

"They have people all the time talking about stopping their treatment or delaying treatment," even when a patient has had an abnormal screening and requires a work-up for a final diagnosis, Brown told The Times.


Utz Recalls Tortilla Chips

Some brands of tortilla chips are being recalled by Utz Quality Foods because they may contain undeclared milk ingredients and could trigger serious or life-threatening reactions in people with dairy allergies.

The recall includes Golden Flake, Good Health, Utz and Weis brand tortilla chip products, which were shipped to 31 states and the District of Columbia, the Associated Press reported.

The voluntary recall was announced Thursday by the Pennsylvania-based company.

Consumers can return the tortilla chips for a refund or exchange.


Doctors Remove 132-Pound Tumor From Woman

A 132-pound tumor was removed from a woman's abdomen and she is expected to make a full recovery, doctors at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut say.

The five-hour surgery to remove the 38-year-old woman's ovarian tumor took five hours and was conducted after planning by a team of 25 specialists, the Associated Press reported.

The woman's tumor was diagnosed after she experienced rapid weight gain of about 10 pounds a week over two months.

The tumor was benign, but was situated on a major blood vessel and posed a potential risk to the woman's heart. She was also malnourished because the tumor was sitting on her digestive tract, the AP reported.

Genetic tests are being performed on the tumor in an attempt to learn why it grew so fast.

Consumer News