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Exercise may cut breast cancer risk up to 30%

Physicians should encourage all women to be physically active, regardless of how much they weigh. That’s because exercise, particularly during the reproductive and postmenopausal years, might help lower breast cancer risk, says the lead author of a study on the topic. Women who engaged in 10 to 19 hours of physical activity per week during their reproductive years or after menopause experienced a 30% reduced risk of developing breast cancer, according to a study published online June 25 in Cancer. Exercise also lowered cancer risk among overweight women who had a body mass index of 25 to 29.9. Physical activity did not reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer in obese women who had a BMI of 30 or higher. But being active did make their risk similar to that of women of normal weight who do not exercise, said lead study author Lauren E. McCullough, MSPH. “The intensity of physical activity doesn’t need to be strenuous to receive health benefits,” said McCullough ...

After ACA ruling, HHS moves ahead with insurance exchanges

The day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the Dept. of Health and Human Services said it was forging ahead on one of the law’s key coverage provisions, the health insurance exchanges, by taking additional steps to get the marketplaces up and running in the states. On June 29, HHS announced that it will provide states with 10 additional chances to apply for federal funding to establish state-based exchanges or state partnership exchanges with the federal government, or to prepare state systems for a federally run exchange as authorized by the health system reform law. The grants “give states additional support to develop an exchange that works for their state,” Mike Hash, interim director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said during a June 29 teleconference. Hash said the funding amounts awarded “will be a function of what the states actually propo ...

Checklist aims to ease burden of disclosing medical errors

Knowing how and when to disclose information about a medical error requires careful planning and coordination by doctors and health care team members, legal experts say. A new checklist developed by the American Health Lawyers Assn. is designed to guide health professionals through that difficult process, while encouraging them to establish policies to address such events before they happen, said Elisabeth Belmont, corporate counsel for MaineHealth, a hospital system based in Portland. She helped draft the checklist. The recommendations, released June 13, suggest health professionals consider specific questions before approaching patients and their families about adverse events. They include: What expressions of empathy and apology can be extended to the patient or their family that are consistent with the protections afforded by state apology laws? Have planned communications to the patient undergone prior review by managers or legal counsel? How will the disclo ...