Each year, around half a million Americans die from cancer.
It's the second-most common cause of death after heart disease, killing one in five.
You can gauge cancer's toll in the dollars we spend to fight it... In 2021, the U.S. government funded $6.3 billion in cancer research. All told, cancer care costs nearly $209 billion per year, just in the United States. And that's expected to hit about $245 billion by 2030.
Virtually everyone has watched a spouse, family member, or a close friend struggle with the disease at some point. And if you haven't, you will.
Excitingly, we've recently started to make some strong, meaningful progress in overcoming cancer's lethal power.
The death rates for breast, prostate, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancers haven't changed significantly since the 1930s. By comparison, stroke and heart disease death rates fell 74% and 64%, respectively, between 1950 and 2006. For the past decade, death rates have continued to fall nearly 1% a year.
Immunotherapy has changed cancer treatment. Immunotherapy redirects a body's own immune system to combat disease. Ipilimumab, the first "immune checkpoint inhibitor," was approved only in 2011. But we knew that this innovation held such promise that we wrote an entire book about it in 2017.
Now, cancer immunotherapy is a $100 billion industry and is forming a new standard of care in cancer. As the field progresses, therapies will get more targeted, personalized, and effective.
But there are no news articles or special reports anywhere else in the world on this topic – yet. In fact, there are only two ways to learn about this huge potential breakthrough and moneymaking opportunity before the rest of the world hears it for the first time, on October 23...
One is by spending years studying medicine, establishing connections, and conducting global boots-on-the-ground research.
The other is by listening to my colleague Dave Lashmet, who has done all that work for you.
According to Dave, what's going to be revealed on October 23 could move the markets and deliver a winning investment within days.
If you've had a rough year in the markets, this could be the boost you need.
Now, here are some of the things on your minds this week... Keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected]. We read every e-mail.
Q: Another food that helps reduce cholesterol is oatmeal. I have 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of old-fashioned oatmeal every day when I break my fast around noon. (I practice intermittent fasting for my diabetes which is controlled through diet with no drugs/insulin.) I have titrated that specific amount over two or three blood tests to balance the cholesterol reduction vs. the increase in my HbA1c. 1/2 cup didn't affect the HbA1c, but didn't quite get the cholesterol where my doctor wanted it. The extra [tablespoon] of oatmeal got the cholesterol below the target while not increasing my HbA1c above 5.7. – G.H.
A: Thanks for sharing your story, G.H. Congrats on finding a way to lower your cholesterol... especially without resorting to pills.
Oatmeal has a lot of incredible health benefits, like lowering cholesterol. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of fats and sugars. It also reduces the amount of low-density lipoprotein ("LDL") cholesterol getting into your bloodstream. (Recall that LDL is the so-called "bad" cholesterol.)
A 2018 review of oat consumption and cholesterol found that about half a cup of oatmeal per day can reduce LDL levels by up to 10%.
And that's not the only benefit of eating oatmeal...
In 2019, the American Heart Association's Stroke journal published the results of a 13-year Danish cohort study of 2,260 adults who were 50 to 64 years old when the study began. The researchers administered food questionnaires and found that – due to its fiber content – having oatmeal for breakfast once a week instead of an egg or white bread reduced a participant's risk of experiencing a stroke by about 5%. Moreover, fiber alters the gut microbiome and is thought to promote a healthier gastrointestinal system.
But it's important, as you clearly already know, to choose the right kind of oatmeal.
While lots of folks think instant oatmeal isn't as healthy, research shows that instant oatmeal gives you as much fiber – 4 grams per serving – as steel-cut oatmeal. To break it down, you get 2 grams of soluble fiber and 2 grams of insoluble fiber in each serving.
Just beware of flavored instant oatmeal, which packs a lot of sugar. If you want a little something sweet in your oatmeal, do what I do... Stick to plain, unflavored, no-sugar-added instant oatmeal and add your own fruit (like fresh blueberries when they're in season). You'll get the combined nutritional benefits of oatmeal and berries without the hazards of sugar.
Q: Even with Medicare, everything is still very expensive. Do you have advice for how to save for [those] of advanced age? – D.C.
A: In 2020, the average health care spending per person in the U.S. hit $11,945. And that cost only rises the older you are. If you're over 65, the average spending on health care increases to $13,000. If you make it to 85, costs soar to nearly $40,000. Overall, retirees spend nearly $300,000 on health care.
If you're struggling to pay for your health care, you can find help with the following programs, compiled by health care researcher and reporter Frank Lalli...
• Medicare Savings Programs will cover most of your medical bills if you meet their low-income qualifications. You can find more here.
• Social Security offers a program called Extra Help. If you meet the requirements, Social Security can provide assistance with prescription-drug costs. It goes along with the Medicare Savings Program, so you'll need to apply to that one as well. Find out more here or call 1-800-772-1213.
• The National Council on Aging offers a searchable database that lists assistance programs for folks over 55. You can find programs even if you aren't in the low-income group, such as programs specifically for veterans. For example, with a few clicks, we discovered a drug-assistance program for Maryland seniors.
Just answer a few questions to find all the services available. Start at benefitscheckup.org.
• The Patient Access Network Foundation helps people find grants to pay their out-of-pocket costs. It has provided $4 billion in assistance to folks since 2004. You have to have one of 50 diseases that the foundation covers, so find out more here or call 1-866-316-7263.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? How pharmaceutical giant Roche paid my brother's tuition.
- Something different: Your personality might have changed during the pandemic.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
October 14, 2022