News in brief: Need for long-term follow-up for CAD after breast cancer; MOGA calls for new members on Oncology Drugs Working Group; Telehealth MBS items now available for hospital inpatients

23 Sep 2021

Need for long-term follow-up for CAD in breast cancer survivors

Young women treated with radiation therapy for left-sided breast cancer have over twice the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) as women treated with radiation therapy for right-sided breast cancer.

According to an analysis of 972 participants in the Women’s Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study, the overall incidence of CAD was 10.5% for women who received left-sided radiation therapy after a diagnosis of breast cancer between 1985 and 2008.

This compared to 5.8% for women who underwent right-sided radiation therapy.

For younger women diagnosed between 25-39 years of age, those who received left-sided radiation therapy had a 5.9% incidence of CAD while those receiving right-sided radiation therapy reported no CAD.

Women diagnosed between 40-54 years of age experienced an 18.7% incidence of CAD after undergoing left-sided radiation therapy and 6.8% after undergoing right-sided radiation therapy.

One of the authors, Dr Gordon Watt from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said the good news was that modern techniques and computerised treatment planning have reduced the amount of radiation that reaches the heart.

An accompanying editorial said the findings reaffirm the role of prolonged surveillance for CAD in younger survivors.

Read more in the article and the editorial in JACC: CardioOncology

Call for new members on Oncology Drugs Working Group

This week is the last chance to get your application in for one of two vacant positions on MOGA’s Oncology Drugs Working Group.

Members of the Group have the opportunity to contribute to the research and development of oncology submissions, position statements and guidance materials in relation to a broad range of oncology drugs and therapeutic treatments.

The Group has a strong track record in developing and pursuing significant change in the national regulatory system around access to oncology drugs and treatments that directly benefit patients and clinical practice.

The group, chaired by Dr Deme Karikios, has also played an important role in the development of MOGA’s current role as a strong advocate and lobbyist for the medical oncology professional nationally.

EOI and CV to by COB, Friday 24 September.

Telehealth MBS items now available for hospital inpatients

New MBS telehealth items have been introduced to cover in-hospital services for private admitted patients receiving specialist care where the doctor is unable to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Available from 15 September 2021, the 40 temporary items (valid until 31 December) for specialists cover video and phone consultations for a specialist who is located in COVID-19 hotspot, or in isolation or quarantine.

According to Medicare, private health insurance rebates and gapcover schemes do not apply for these telehealth attendances.

Out of pocket costs for the new items will count towards the patient’s Medicare Safety Nets (original and extended).

In its Factsheets, Medicare says MBS specialist telehealth items do not need to be bulk billed, although this is encouraged

“The fee structure for the new items aligns with equivalent face-to-face items and existing COVID-19 telehealth specialist items introduced from March 2020,” it says.

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