December 1, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

People With HIV Are Less Likely To Get Cancer Treatment

BY MICHELLE ANDREWS |  We’ve made great progress treating people who are infected with HIV, but if they get cancer they’re less likely to get the care they need, a recent study found.

Researchers examined treatment for a variety of cancers, including upper gastrointestinal tract, colorectal, prostate, lung, head and neck, cervix, breast, anal and two blood cancers. With the exception of anal cancer, treatment rates differed significantly between HIV-infected people and those who weren’t infected, according to the study.

For example, 33 percent of patients with HIV and lung cancer failed to receive any treatment for the cancer compared with 14 percent of those who weren’t infected. Similarly, 44 percent of people who were HIV positive didn’t receive treatment for upper GI cancer versus 18 percent of those who weren’t infected with HIV. Twenty-four percent of men with prostate cancer who were HIV positive didn’t get treatment compared with 7 percent of non-HIV infected men.

Cancer treatment was defined as radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery.

“To have made such great strides with treating HIV only to have them succumb to cancer is devastating,” said Dr. Gita Suneja, a radiation oncologist at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City and the lead author of the study. It was published online this month in the journal Cancer.

The study used the National Cancer Data Base to analyze treatment for adults younger than 65 who were diagnosed with any of the 10 most common cancers to affect HIV patients between 2003 and 2011. The study included 10,265 HIV-infected adults and 2.2 million without HIV.

The data base, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons, captures roughly 70 percent of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States.

woman patient in hospital with saline intravenous (iv)The study noted that more than a third of the patients with HIV had stage 4 cancer — cancer that has metastasized — when they were diagnosed, while only 19 percent of those without HIV did.

Improvements in antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV have helped reduce the incidence of cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma that are closely linked to AIDS, but rates for other cancers often associated with normal aging have increased among HIV patients. In addition, people with HIV have a higher incidence of some lifestyle-related cancers, such as lung cancer, which could be linked to higher rates of smoking. Cancer is now the second most common cause of death among HIV-infected people, behind AIDS-related causes.

HIV patients are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured, and lack of coverage can affect access to cancer care. But having insurance didn’t eliminate the problem: privately insured people with HIV were significantly more likely to be untreated for many cancers than were privately insured people without HIV, the study found.

“We know that people with Medicaid or who are uninsured receive subpar cancer treatment, and that’s a big public health issue,” said Suneja. “But even factoring that in, HIV-infected people are still less likely to receive cancer treatment. That means there are other drivers that we couldn’t measure in the study.”

Disparities in cancer treatment could exist for several reasons. For one thing, for most cancers there are no national treatment guidelines for HIV-infected patients, Suneja said. One of the few exceptions is anal cancer, the only cancer for which the study found little discrepancy in treatment among HIV-infected and non-infected patients. According to the research, the difference among those not receiving treatment was 4.8 percent for HIV patients versus 3.1 percent for others.

For other cancers, “the oncologist may pause and ask, ‘Does the HIV infection mean they shouldn’t get standard cancer treatment?’” Suneja added.

in HEALTH
Related Posts

The Right Size Condom For You

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

Condoms and sex seem to be a taboo subject for discussion. Health class 101 points out the male and female...

The Center Offers Post Election Counseling

November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

Amidst the stress on an election still yet to be called The LGBTQ Center Long Beach offered free post election...

Family-Owned CBD Brand Remedio Wellness

October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

Family-owned CBD brand Remedio Wellness launches carefully formulated products harnessing the power of nature and hemp.  Remedio Wellness was founded...

Free Drive-Up HIV Testing

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

In 2019, 245 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Orange County. The HIV epidemic remains, despite a pandemic changing...

WeHo Launches “Masks Are…” PSA

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has had a mandatory face-covering requirement in effect since late May 2020 and has been...

AIDS Memorial Quilt Virtual Exhibition

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

The National AIDS Memorial is announcing a virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt (the Quilt) that will feature more...

Tech Companies Offer Hormone Therapy At Home

October 4, 2020

October 4, 2020

Plume, the first health tech company built for the transgender community, announced that it has been named Preferred GAHT Provider...

Trans Lifeline, A Transgender Crisis Hotline Run By Trans People

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Trans Lifeline, which describes itself as the only crisis hotline for trans people operated entirely by trans people, is flooded...

AIDS Walk Los Angeles 2020

August 27, 2020

August 27, 2020

AIDS Walk Los Angeles (AWLA) is the world’s first walk to fight HIV and AIDS. 35 years ago, a group...

The Best Cancer Treatment You Have Never Heard Of – Hyperthermia Cancer Institute

August 19, 2020

August 19, 2020

The Hyperthermia Cancer Institute, is a cancer therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used with...

August Celebrated As Anal Pleasure Month

August 9, 2020

August 9, 2020

In 2012 August was declared to be anal pleasure month which is unbeknownst to many people. Good Vibrations, an adult...

6 in 10 Queer Men With COVID Symptoms Hide Them From Partners

August 9, 2020

August 9, 2020

COVID 19 is affecting everything from businesses to government and now it is taking a toll on people’s sex lives....

CancerCare Offers Online Support to LGBTQ+ Community

August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020

CancerCare helps individuals, families, caregivers and the bereaved cope with the emotional and practical challenges of cancer. Its free services...

How COVID-19 Impacts Black LGBTQ+ People

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Amidst horrifying racial disparities, “COVID While Black and Queer” is a new data initiative that will shine a light on...

Lawmakers Ask State and Counties to Collect Data on LGBTQ Community and COVID-19

April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Chair and Vice-Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus respectively, sent...