The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 19, 1996 · Page 8
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 19, 1996
Page 8
Start Free Trial

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1996 HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL V WOMEN'S HEALTH Insurers timid on new Pap test Papnet computer test called 'an unnecessary duplication,' but the cost grants peace of mind By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Ads proclaim it "the , safety net for your Pap smear" — a way to re- screen test results to check whether a lab 'technician may have overlooked any hard-to- spot cervical cancer. , But many insurance companies are refusing to pay for the Papnet computer test, calling it an unnecessary and costly duplication idespite its approval late last year by the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturer Neuromedical Systems Inc. has signed up only one managed care company to cover it, and has started a massive advertising campaign telling women they may have to pay the $40 tab on their own. As a result, 7,000 women have called Neu- romedical in the last month seeking help in getting the rescreening or in persuading 'their insurers to pay for it, said company scientist Dr. Laurie Mango. •• "It's another check to make sure that you're totally normal," said Amy Osterhout- Anderson, a medical receptionist in New 'York who paid for her own Papnet test when •her insurer refused. But, she adds, "I can't af- 'ford to pay every year." Some women aren't covered while their insurance companies debate whether the re- screening is worth the cost. The federal government early next year will seek recommendations from its medical advisers on possible Medicaid and Medicare .coverage. ' Other companies have decided against pay- "It's another check to make sure that you're totally normal, (but) I can't afford to pay every year." Amy Osterhout-Anderson a medical receptionist in New York who paid for her own Papnet test when her insurer refused to do so ing. "The Pap smear has already been done and this just duplicates the efforts of a human being," said Cigna Healthcare spokesman Mark Di Giorgio. A year is not abnormally long for insurers to decide on a new technology, as they weigh the benefits versus the costs, Mango conceded. Neuromedical is making an all-out effort to persuade insurers, with both the ad campaign and funding for a cost-effectiveness study by the University of Florida that will give 100,000 indigent women nationwide the test for free. Double-checking lab workers is the idea behind Papnet and rival NeoPath Inc.'s Au- topap computer systems. American women undergo 50 million Pap smears a year, the standard test for catching cervical cancer early enough to cure it. Labs simply examine cells scraped off the cervix for cancer as well as precancerous changes. Although Pap smears are credited with saving millions of lives, the government says labs miss problems up to 30 percent of the time. No one knows how often those mistakes prove deadly, although two Wisconsin cancer patients 1993 settled multimillion lawsuits against a lab that repeatedly misread their Pap smears. Both women have since died. With the computer systems, Pap smears that labs designate as cancer-free are enhanced to help pinpoint tiny cells that appear abnormal so pathologists can take a second look. In FDA-required testing of 228 cancer patients, Papnet helped uncover 72 Pap smears that had been initially misdiagnosed. The two computers are slightly different. Papnet is marketed to women and doctors, while the FDA approved AutoPap to be sold directly to labs to check their quality. NeoPath says some women may already be getting AutoPap retests without knowing it because some labs make the computer part of their daily quality-control program. But "reimbursement is the major stumbling block," said Tobey Dichter of SmithK- line Beecham Clinical Laboratories, which is testing AutoPap in a lab while discussing with insurers how to pay for it. MagnaCare, which covers 1.3 million people in the Northeast, last month became the first managed care company to agree to routine Papnet coverage. Some private insurers also have paid for it on a case-by-case basis. Ohio's insurance department just began examining complaints that the state should mandate payment for computer rescreening as it already does for regular Pap smears. The computers won't make Pap tests perfect, said Dr. Edward Jacobs of Albany, N.Y. But he tells women: "For the cost of one dinner, patients are looking at a technique to give them peace of mind." % * 1 Glassware * Postcards * Toys * Fiesta Primitives W Advertising * Jewelry - A full line of Antiques and Collectibles * Saturday, Oct. 19 - 10am Sunday, Oct. 20 - 10am - 4pm Kenwood Hall 900 Greeley (off Ohio) * Admission: $1.50 Coronado Country Chapter of ' Sweet Adelines International Presents: . " " Sounds from the Bie Top' Featuring: ® L 1996 Queens of Harmony WEEKEND EDITION Sponsoring: Camp Hope & Coalition for Families and Children October 19, 1996, 7:00 p.m. Lyons High School Events of the Day ^Salina Journal T TOBACCO Tobacco interests scoff at study Journal says chemical compound in cigarette smoke linked to cancer By PAUL RECER The Associated Press WASHINGTON — A chemical compound linked in a new study to the genetic changes of lung cancer can come from many sources other than cigarette smoke, a tobacco company said Friday. - The study, published in the journal Science, is the first to describe the specific parts of a cancer gene -that are damaged by benzo(a)pyrene, or BAP, a chemical common in cigarette smoke. Anti-smoking groups described the finding as a "smoking gun" link between cigarettes and lung cancer that gives plaintiffs a powerful new weapon in lawsuits 'against tobacco companies. T RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS New drugs are showing promise Rheumatoid arthritis Sufferers may get relief .with 3 new medicines By The Associated Press Three new genetically engineered drugs show promise for treating, even halting, the crippling and painful effects of •rheumatoid arthritis, say doctors .meeting in Florida. The studies are to be presented Saturday at the national meeting iof the American College of 'Rheumatology in Orlando. Nearly 800 patients were involved in the three separate studies. Most of those who received one of the drugs reported im- 'provements in their swollen and tender joints and only minor side effects, such as a rash. The drugs interfere with the inflammatory cycle of rheumatoid arthritis. "Clearly, additional testing will be required," said Dr. William Koopman, president-elect of the American College of Rheumatol- 'bgy and chairman of the department of medicine at the University Jbf Alabama in Birmingham. v "But these are far enough along gh the testing that I think we're yery optimistic that these or related agents will find their way into the clinic in the not-too-distant fu- "tuye," Koopman said Friday. ;•• More than 2 million Americans, •mostly women, suffer from •rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic in- ftammatory disease that causes Jpain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. The disease tglso can result in eye problems jand inflammation of blood vessels, 'lungs and heart. "•' While the cause of the disease is 'unknown, recent studies show that ^certain people inherit a tendency jo develop rheumatoid arthritis. There is no known cure; the goal of Veatment, therefore, is to achieve Remissions or near remissions ^without serious side effects. But Brown & Williamson, makers of Viceroy and Barclay cigarettes, said in a statement that BAP is very common in the environment and can originate from many sources. "Benzo(a)pyrene is everywhere," said the statement. "It is in air, soil and produced by the combustion of any kind of organic matter. For example, it is produced by back-yard barbecues and the exhaust of automobiles and trucks." The tobacco company issued a statement saying the Science study published Friday "will require careful study" and that the firm was issuing only "a few observations." Brown & Williamson said the levels of BAP in tobacco smoke are not at a concentration that would cause cancer in laboratory animals. The Science 'study found that BAP-related chemicals will damage the P53 gene in human cells in a specific way. The same sort of damage is found in P53 genes in lung cancer cells. The study authors called the connection a "coincidence" that "suggests" the BAP compounds are involved in the genetic changes that transform lung cells into cancer cells. "Our study thus provides a direct link between a defined cigarette smoke carcinogen and human cancer mutations," the study said. The research was conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, Cal. The Tobacco Institute, a lobbying organization that represents 13 cigarette manufacturers, declined comment. John Benzhaf, director of Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-tobacco organization, said the new study "helps close a loophole" that has enabled tobacco lawyers to deny that scientists have proven a smoking-cancer connection. "We now have the evidence we need," said Banzhaf. DICKINSON THEATRES MICHAEL DOUGLAS VAL KILMER PREY FOR THE HUNTERS THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS Fri. (*4:45)-7:00-9:20 Sat. (*2:15-*4:45)-7:00-9:20 Sun.(*2:15-*4:45)-7:00 Mon.-Thur. (*5:00)-7:20 m ^ THE GLIMMER MAN Fri. C4:SO)-7:05-9:1S Sat C2:20-'4:50)-7:05-9:15 Sun. C2:20-'4:50)-7:05 Mon.-Thura. C6:05W7:1S BEEHAOAV1S SAMUEL L. JACKSON What's forgotten is not always gone. THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT Sunset Fri. (*4:30)-7:00-8:25 LI Sat. C2:OO-'4:30>-7:00-9:25 Sua^OO-^SOHiOO Mon.-Thur. (*5:00)-7:25 Central Mall/ Fri. C4:20)-7:10-9:45 Sat. C1:20-'4:20}-7:10-9:45 8un.('1:20- > 4:20)-7:10 Mon.-Thur. ('5:10)-7;40 (*f^ PICTURES Presents Central Mall/ THE CHAMBER CHRIS O'DONNEU. GENE HACKMAN US Frl.('4:10)-7:05-9:50 Sat.("1:10-'4:10>-7:05-9:50 Sun.(*1:10-'4:10}-7:05 Mon.-Thur, C5:OS)-7;45 THE MIGHTY OtttVA Fri. ('4:36)-7:06-9:15 L Sat. C2:05-'4:36)-9:15 Sun. ('2:06-'4:35)-7:05 Mon,-Thur.C5iQ5)-7i1B [[Sunset,'] IV HI Ml iini, l SLEEPERS ROBERT DE NIRO BRAD PITT as [Central Mall/] Frl.(*4:00)-7:00-10:00 Sat. C1:00-'4iOO)-7:00-10:00 Sun.C1:00"M:00)-7:00 Mon.-Thur. (*6:00)-7:50 FIRST WIVES Fri. ('4:30)-7:15-9:40 Sun.('1:30-'4:30)-7:15 Sat.('1:30-'4:30)-7:15-9: Mon.-Thur. ('5:15)-7:35 \A/e'vti gone world wide web! OUTRAGEOUSLY FUNNY! A Winner!" "Whoopi wows Wall Street." Mute N««««ro, El ENTERTAINMEMTTELEVISION 'Whoopi Goldberg delivers a hysterical performance!' Kalhryn Kinky, WPIX-TV WHOOPI GOLDBERG ASSOCIATE "Dazzling! A must-see!" Ron Brefringlon, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS "Hilarious!" Byron AU», ENTERTAINERS Sunset L1221 W. Cfmyfofd 825-58^ "COME FOR THE 7:05 SHOWING OF "THE ASSOCIATE" AND STAY AS OUR GUEST FOR "D3 MIGHTY DUCKS" at 9:15." Enjoy this complete suite for under "$84 per mo.•

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,100+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free