According to the National Cancer Institute, Prostate cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate gland that usually affects older men. What is the prostate gland? From the Prostate Cancer Foundation: “The normal prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum…It seems to supply substances that facilitate fertilization and sperm transit and survival.” Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men, making it the most common non-skin cancer in America. There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer, including:

  • Age – More than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65.
  • Race – African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.
  • Genetics – You are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer if your father or brother has the disease.
  • Geography – Living above 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia for example) raises your risk of dying from prostate cancer due to inadequate sunlight, and therefore vitamin D levels, during the winter months.

Symptoms of prostate cancer vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include frequent urination, difficulty urinating including weak or interrupted flow or painful or burning sensation, and blood in urine or semen among others.

What Help is Available?

We have many resources for prostate cancer listed on the NeedyMeds website. Our prostate cancer information page is the best place to start. This page lists

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There are many companies that, for a fee, offer to help people apply to pharmaceutical patient assistance programs (PAPs). Some even show up when you do a Google search for “NeedyMeds” or words spelled close to “NeedyMeds.”

While some make reasonable claims, others seem to say if you pay them a fee they can get you any medicine for free. And some of the fees can pile up pretty quickly.

No PAP charges you to apply. Occasionally you’ll find one that has a copayment, but you should never pay upfront.

How complicated is it to apply to a PAP? The simple answer is “it depends on the program.” Just about every program has its own application. Some are very simple while others are a little more demanding. But this should never deter anyone from applying.

Horror stories abound about people who were duped by companies that help people apply to PAPs. What steps should you take to protect yourself from being ripped off?

There are websites where people describe the problems they encounter with companies such as:

Another way to find potential problems is just to Google the company name with the word “complaints.”

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All About PARE

In last week’s blog post we looked at what resources we have available for Patient Advocates. This week we would like to go a step further and introduce our latest resource for advocates – Patient Assistance Resource Education (PARE). The purpose of PARE is to educate healthcare professionals on how to best utilize NeedyMeds to serve their patients. Advocates and medical office staff complete a web-based and self-paced course that goes in-depth into all of our databases and resources. After completing PARE, advocates will be able to navigate the often confusing and complex world of patient assistance.

One of the primary lessons is on Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). We currently list PAPs for over 4,381 drugs on NeedyMeds.org. However, many people are unaware of how to apply to a program, and how the programs actually work. Every PAP is different, with different eligibility requirements. Using PARE, advocates and medical professionals will learn how to use NeedyMeds to find and enroll their patients in these programs.

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Major depression, also commonly referred to as clinical depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Major depression, including major depressive disorder, manic depression, and dysthymia, affect more than 19 million Americans a year. Almost two-thirds of those with depression are women. The symptoms of clinical depression vary, but common symptoms include persistent sad or anxious mood, sleeping issues, reduced appetite, irritability, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide among others. From Mental Health America, “Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.”

There are many causes of major depression, and each case is different. “For some people, a number of factors seem to be involved, while for others a single factor can cause the illness. Oftentimes, people become depressed for no apparent reason.” One common reason is biological, having too many or too few neurotransmitters in the brain. However, genetics, medication

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Routine “everyday tasks” can be quite burdensome for many people living with a disability. For a long time there was little one could do to help in these situations, causing many people with disabilities to require personal assistance, which oftentimes would lead to depression and low self-esteem issues. Throughout the last few decades, however, much work has been done in developing and launching new technologies to help people with a variety of disabilities. Commonly referred to as “assistive technology,” these new devices are designed to help those living with a disability to easily perform common tasks. Thanks to the Assistive Technology Act, the federal government now works along with each state to help provide assistive technology to disabled individuals nationwide.

What is Assistive Technology and Who Does it Help?

Assistive technology (or AT), as defined by the

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