A better way starts with us

THE CHALLENGE
Abarca is a different kind of PBM and a different kind of company. Our organization was built upon six unique core values that guide every aspect of our business, from the solutions we offer to the way we interact with each other.

At Abarca, our values aren’t just words we put on a wall: they are standards we uphold and principles to live by. To keep our team united in our mission as they work remotely, we needed to find ways to affirm our corporate culture.

THE APPROACH
The Talent Strategy team created distinct tracks that ensure Abarcans can quickly identify and access the resources they need, including:

Abarcan Growth
A multi-faceted advancement program that includes well-defined career paths, leadership tracks, and an open feedback culture to develop talent.

  • Tuition Reimbursement – An employee-driven program that empowers Abarcans to pursue further education and professional certifications to advance their careers at Abarca, and beyond.
  • Leadership Journey – A 12-week training program that gives Abarcans the skills to become leaders in their current roles and propel them towards future opportunities.
  • Leaders Learning Series – A 4-week educational series, this year’s program focused on tools and resources for working remotely during COVID-19.

Abarcan Care
A carefully curated employee benefits program that gives Abarcans both support and flexibility to nurture talent and make their workplace work for them.

  • Holistic Wellness Program – Adapted to accommodate better remote working, this program offers a holistic approach to wellness, including virtual coffee breaks with life coaches, cooking classes, story time for children of employees, and open conversations between employees to keep them connected during social distancing.
  • Fitness Program – To make it easier for our employees to exercise while working remote, we sent participating Abarcans a box of fitness gear for at-home workouts.
  • Recognition Program – Abarcans are encouraged to recognize their team members for going above and beyond. The organization recently took this program online and has incorporated a point system that allows participants to earn prizes.

Our Talent Strategy team also worked to give employees tools to stay connected to Abarca’s unique culture while working virtually, such as:

  • Promoting a multi-channel internal campaign to educate employees on the company’s core values and the opportunities available across the organization.
  • Fostering connections between team members by highlighting employee stories, devising team building activities, and making the leadership team accessible to every Abarcan.
  • Soliciting and executing on employee feedback to see what is working and where they can improve and putting the results into action.

THE RESULTS
Recently, a global HR consulting firm conducted an employee survey to gauge Abarcan engagement and find ways the company could improve. As a result of the Talent Strategy team’s efforts, Abarca saw a significant year-over-year increase in employee approval and engagement in key areas across the company.

Based on these scores, Abarca was recognized as a Best Employer by the HR firm, demonstrating the power of the company’s culture across the healthcare industry, and beyond.

Now that’s a better way.

To download the case study, click here.

How Abarca approaches ePA and RTBTs

Beginning January 1, U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated certain capabilities be available for Part D plans. Here’s what you need to know:

Real-Time Benefit Tool (RTBT)1

  • What is RTBT?
    Often, a member is not aware if their insurance covers their prescribed treatment, or if less expensive therapeutically equivalent options are available, until they pick up a prescription.The RTBT allows the patient and prescriber to check if a prescription is covered by a member’s plan at the point of care.
  • What is Abarca’s RTBT?
    Darwin’s RTBT offering involves two main transactions – a request and a response:

    • The prescriber initiates a patient medication benefit check (PBMC) request at point of care to review member-specific benefit and coverage information.
    • Once the PMBC request has been validated, Darwin responds with formulary alternatives for the submitted drug, any applicable utilization management coverage alerts (for example, prior authorization, quantity limit, etc), generic alternatives, and pricing information.
  • How does it benefit members?
    Because the patient will know if a medication is covered and the cost before he or she leaves the physician’s office, it prevents sticker shock at the pharmacy and reduces the likelihood that the pharmacist will have to call the doctor for approval to fill the prescription or a denial because there are formulary alternatives available.Abarca’s RTBT promotes cost transparency for members, provides them opportunities to save money, and increases the likelihood of medication compliance.

Electronic Prior Authorization (ePA)2

  • What is ePA?
    Prior authorization is a process used by health plans to ensure that a prescribed treatment is necessary, appropriate, and safe for the patient. This transaction is often handled manually, whereby the plan requests additional documentation, and the provider responds by phone, mail, or fax. This is a time-consuming process that can cause delays in care.Electronic prior authorization (ePA) is an electronic process that provides integration between Electronic Medical or Health Records (EMR/EHR) and Pharmacy Benefit Management Software enabling real-time approval of medication prior authorization at point of care.
  • How does Abarca approach ePA?
    Abarca’s ePA solution is fully integrated with the Coverage Determinations Module within the Darwin Platform. The key to Abarca’s approach to ePA is the same as its approach to business generally: We work to increase transparency.Through Darwin, when prescribers submit their requests, they receive immediate insight into the information required for a determination, as well as any documentation that may be missing. Once submitted, the request can be monitored through the review queue–speeding up the process significantly and reducing the need for manual follow-up.
  • How does it benefit members?
    By cutting down the time it takes for members to receive their medications and providing checks to ensure this is an appropriate treatment, Abarca’s approach to ePA helps improve adherence and reduce prescription abandonment.

Above all, both of these functionalities will contribute to a better experience for members. And, at Abarca, we say it’s about time.


This blog post was written by Francina Bonnelly Pharm D, Associate Director of Clinical Product & Services at Abarca.

1. On May 16, 2019, CMS issued the Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Pricing Final Rule (CMS-4180-F) that required each Plan D plan adopt one or more RTBTs that are capable of integrating with at least one prescriber’s ePrescribing system or electronic health record (EHR), no later than January 1, 2021.

2. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (Pub. L 115-271), referred to as the “SUPPORT Act,” was enacted on October 24, 2018. Section 6062 amended section 1860D-4(e)(2) of the Act to require adopting the Part D e-Prescribing program’s transactions standards to ensure secure ePA request and response transactions between prescribers and Part D plan sponsors no later than January 1, 2021.

What is a twindemic?

2020 brought a lot of firsts in healthcare and, as we enter into flu season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with the potential of another one: a twindemic.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • What is a twindemic? The “twindemic,” a term likely coined by the New York Times, refers to a time when a severe flu epidemic coincides with a wave of COVID-19.
  • What would it mean for the healthcare system? On every level, healthcare is already facing unprecedented challenges in providing quality care and protecting employees from COVID-19. An influx of flu patients would put additional strain on systems that are already stretched thin. 
  • What about the COVID-19 vaccine? The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for COVID vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, and additional options are in advanced trial phases. Vaccines is being distributed in phases that vary from state to state. For more information on vaccine rollouts in your community, visit your state’s department of health website.
  • What can I do? The 2020-2021 flu vaccine is available — and getting one has never been more critical. The CDC has shared resources to make it easier to find locations to receive a flu shot, as well as other important vaccines. Also, keep track of COVID vaccine distribution in your state, and make an appointment to get one when you are eligible.
  • How can I tell if I am experiencing COVID or flu symptoms? COVID and the flu can present similarly. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, begin quarantining immediately and contact your doctor.

The CDC is regularly updating its guidelines around COVID-19, and it is critical to stay on top of the latest information and follow the precautions. Adhering to these protocols, and getting a flu vaccine, will help minimize the chances of a twindemic.

There is still a lot that we don’t know about COVID-19 and what it will bring next. But, at Abarca, we are sure of one thing: we are in this together. And we will continue to provide the best possible resources and information to our clients, partners, and members.

This blog was written by Ana M. Rivera, PharmD, Clinical Programs Manager at Abarca.

The Impact of Better Care

2020 was challenging year for people around the world. But, in times like these, our company has discovered that we can actually lift ourselves up by serving others in need.

For the past few years, our company, Abarca, has had several occasions to put this into practice. It started with Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our organization has offices in Florida and Puerto Rico, and our team rallied to help people in their communities — many of whom lost their homes and who lacked many of life’s basic necessities — obtain their prescription medications.

Two years ago, a group of Abarcans responded to this call in a big way by creating the Better Care Community Program (BCCP), a philanthropic initiative that provides financial and volunteer support to healthcare nonprofits as they work to improve health in their communities.

A key component of this program is that the entire organization–all 400+ employees–is invited and encouraged to vote during the selection process and lend their unique talents to the winners. No matter their level of involvement, every Abarcan is given the power to play a role in improving our community.

In the BCCP’s first year, we selected four winners. Once chosen, these organizations worked closely with a dedicated team of Abarcans to carry out a specific project to advance its mission. Together, we were able to:

  • Expand efforts to detect early-stage renal diseases and identify at-risk patients to allow early intervention and education.
  • Host a series of workshops for female high school students across the island to get them engaged in STEM.
  • Build and supply an on-site medication dispensary to serve residents at a children’s home.
  • Secure an in-house pediatrician to provide regular medical care for shelter residents, and renovate the facility’s clinic.

The results made an immediate impact for these organizations and their communities. These accomplishments are shared across our entire organization–and I consider the way that our team members came together Like Family to help these organizations, and each other, to be among the program’s greatest successes.

Our team recently launched the BCCP’s second year. And, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the support that this program offers has never been more important.

To better address the challenges that many healthcare organizations are currently facing, we’re making some key changes to the program. Most significantly, we have opened applications to organizations that are based in Florida. This move will not only provide support to one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic, but, as the home of our second largest office, it also creates more opportunities for Abarcans that work outside of our main office site to volunteer in their own backyards

As we continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and months of remote work, it would be easy for employees to become disengaged–from their communities, their workplace, and each other. But the BCCP is once again generating excitement across Abarca, and unifying our team in a sense of purpose.

As a member of the leadership team, I could not be prouder of what the Better Care Community Program has been able to accomplish so far. As an Abarcan, I am excited to work with my teammates to select our next group of winners and help them achieve their goals.

And we are ready to go All In.

This post was written by Adriana Ramirez, Esq., Chief Operating Officer at Abarca.

Marking Abarca’s fifteenth anniversary

Remember 2005? Nickelback and The Black Eyed Peas dominated the charts. We had only seen the first four Harry Potter films. Facebook had just been launched, but Twitter and Instagram did not exist. And no one had heard of a viral video.

It was also the year that Abarca was founded. Over the next decade and a half, our CEO, Jason Borschow, told payers they should expect more from their pharmacy benefit manager—better service, more powerful technology, bold clinical innovation, and a partner that would always strive to find a better way.

Since then, we’ve built a company that delivers on these promises. Here are some examples of what we’ve been able to accomplish, together:

  • Building Darwin, an industry-leading PBM technology platform, from the ground up.

And we are continuing to innovate and redefine what it means to be a PBM, a partner, and an employer.

We’re rolling out a new commemorative logo to celebrate everything that the Abarca family has accomplished over the last decade and a half, and our excitement for the future.

Abarca Health spreads the word on the benefits of the flu vaccination in times of Covid-19

As we face a new healthcare environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a high probability that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could likely be overwhelmed treating patients with both of these viruses, meaning getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more critical than ever.

In our quest for a better way in healthcare, Abarca goes all in to spread the word on the importance of the flu vaccination to high risk patients, parents, and caregivers. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, there are many significant benefits, such as reducing the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, death, and saving healthcare resources for patients with COVID-19.

Main facts:

1. Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with the flu. During seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of going to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.

2. Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working-age adults, and older adults. Recent studies show that the flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations. In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40%. Another 2020 study found that during the 2018-2019 flu season, flu vaccination reduced flu-associated hospitalization by 41% and flu-associated emergency department visits by half among children (aged six months to 17 years old).​

3. Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had a cardiac event in the past year. Also, Flu vaccination can reduce worsening and hospitalization for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Flu vaccination has also been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

4. Flu vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about one-half. A 2018 study that included influenza seasons from 2010-2016 showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent. Other studies have also shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu for several months after birth when he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated.

5. Flu vaccination can be lifesaving in children. A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from flu.

6. Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent four fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions. Despite the many benefits offered by flu vaccination, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine, and flu continues to cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. Many more people could be protected from the flu if more people got vaccinated.

As we approach influenza season (the peak of which occurs in December through February), the influenza vaccination will be essential to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and can help decrease further burdens on the healthcare system.

Learn more about seasonal influenza, including how to prevent it, the benefits of getting vaccinated, and how the influenza vaccine works. We recommend that you talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccine is right for you and your loved ones.

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*This blog post was written by Lillian Colón-López, MPH, Pharm. D., Clinical Client Adviser at Abarca Health.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm. Other references for the studies listed above can be found at Publications on Influenza Vaccine Benefits. Also, see the A Strong Defense Against Flu: Get Vaccinated fact sheet.

Rising drug costs fuel interest in value-based contracts

Prescription drugs are on their way to eating up the biggest slice of Puerto Rico’s $3.4 billion Medicaid budget. To head off rising costs, the island turned to what is still a relatively new trend in the pharmaceutical world — value-based contracting.

At its most basic level, a value-based contract emphasizes the quality of care rather than the quantity. In the case of pharmaceutical firms, it means tying reimbursement not just to how many pills patients take but also to whether patients get better. The risk is that they don’t, or that they get better on a competitor’s medication.

Puerto Rico’s first-ever value-based contract for Medicaid was launched in 2017 in partnership with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen and a pharmacy benefit manager called Abarca. It is the first publicly disclosed value-based contract to cover Medicaid patients, according to Abarca, which recently revealed some details of the program. The contract covered two Biogen drugs, Avonex and Tecfidera, used in treating multiple sclerosis.

“We want to make sure that what we’re buying is actually something that is resulting in better outcomes for our patients,” said Jorge Galva, executive director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration, which runs the island’s Medicaid program. It is known by its Spanish acronym, ASES.

An analysis showed that for the most part, patients adhered to their prescriptions under the contract but when they did not, Puerto Rico received rebates.

While simple in theory, value-based contracts are complex in practice covering everything from the quality outcomes to be measured to whether certain patients should be excluded, said Chance Scott, a director in the life sciences practice at Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Guidehouse.

If a cardiac-drug patient suffers a heart attack, for example, the medication could have failed or there could be another contributing factor, Scott said. “That’s where it just becomes really tricky.”

Payment terms also may vary. Some contracts call for rebates, while others might require payers to make a large upfront payment followed by smaller payments at regular intervals as long as the drugs keep working, Scott said.

Regardless of the complexity, value-based contracts are likely to become more common as payers seek to control costs, Scott said. Pharma companies go along or risk seeing payers reduce or restrict use of their therapies.

“The payer demand is what is going to push this forward,” Scott said, noting that cardiology and oncology are among the areas where value-based contracts will become most prevalent.

For ASES, Abarca and Biogen, the value-based contract rested on a simple metric — prescription compliance. The costs and compliance results were not disclosed although Abarca did reveal in its case study that only a small number of patients were prescribed the two Biogen drugs. If the patients stop taking them, ASES gets a rebate on the cost.

The structure gives Biogen an incentive to ensure patients are compliant and to figure out and address any reasons why they are not, said Javier Gonzalez, chief growth officer for Abarca, which is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Abarca collected data that helped Biogen accept the grounds for giving a rebate, often a sticking point in value-based agreements, Gonzalez said.

“We’ve also given Biogen some incredibly valuable feedback to think how they structure value-based arrangements in the future,” Gonzalez said.

Biogen did not make an executive available for an interview. In a statement, Alisha Alaimo, president of Biogen’s U.S. organization said:

“Value-based agreements further support our commitment to people living with MS by connecting real-world patient choice and outcomes to the cost of the therapy. We are proud to partner with Abarca to help ensure their members receive effective and safe therapies.”

ASES or Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration, had few qualms about the arrangement, Galva said, since it shifted some of the cost risk to the manufacturer and the PBM.

“Having something that would guarantee full compliance with the medication regime was very interesting,” Galva said. “What was put on the table … was an agreement where we all had skin in the game.”

The Puerto Rico Medicaid program is now exploring more value-based contracts for medication in areas such as hemophilia and rheumatoid arthritis, he added.

In addition to medication compliance, the program is weighing how to measure whether patients actually get better, Galva said. “With rheumatoid arthritis, for example, you want to ensure people can go to work and move and stay active.”

That represents a higher hurdle for value-based contracts, said Michael Rea, CEO of Rx Savings Solutions, a company based in Overland Park, Kansas, that helps payers save on prescription costs.

Health plans and employers don’t always agree with pharmaceutical companies when it comes to defining value, he said. “That is where the conversation breaks down and what sounds perfect in description doesn’t play out perfectly in real life.”

Even if a common understanding of value emerges, other risks reman for value-based contracting

Privacy laws are one potential hurdle, depending on the data that is needed to determine price concessions from a manufacturer, said Marcy Imada, a managing director in the risk and financial advisory practice at Deloitte & Touche.

“Ideally manufacturers would not have to touch or get access to protected health information or personally identifiable information,” said Imada, who is based in Los Angeles. She focuses on the life sciences industry and regulatory compliance.

Another major barrier could the interplay between government and private payers.

Under its drug rebate program, Medicaid calculates rebates for branded drugs dispensed to its members using what it calls the Medicaid Best Price. That price represents the lowest price paid by commercial customers for a drug in a specific timeframe.

In a value-based contract, the lowest price could be zero, even if that stems from one patient who did not take or respond to a medication or some other undesirable outcome, depending on how federal rules are interpreted. A zero-dollar Medicaid Best Price translates into significantly higher rebates, potentially resulting in no profit or net loss on related drug sales.

Some manufacturers have tried to work with regulators so they can move into value-based contracts without that concern. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

“It is a huge risk if the Medicaid Best Price ends up being zero dollars,” Imada said.

This article originally appeared in MedCity News.

Abarca expands employee-driven community healthcare initiative

MIAMI, FLAbarca, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) that is disrupting the industry with a new approach to technology and business practices, today announced the expansion of its Better Care Community Program to support research on endemic tropical diseases and minority health. Launched in 2019, this community initiative provides funding and volunteer support to nonprofits committed to improving healthcare in their community.

“We were honored to partner with and support community healthcare organizations that are making a difference during this global health crisis,” said Jason Borschow, President and CEO at Abarca. “We are now inspired to help more organizations, including research focused on endemic tropical diseases or minority health, pursue off road approaches to healthcare at a time when we need them the most.”

The employee-run Better Care Community Program is open to all health-related nonprofits in Florida and Puerto Rico, where most Abarca employees live and work. The program focuses on organizations that:

  • Research COVID or endemic tropical diseases,
  • Work in minority health,
  • Address clinical needs, or
  • Have technology-based initiatives.

In the program’s first year, Better Care Community Program winners in Puerto Rico have launched a series of STEM workshops targeted toward female high school students, provided healthcare resources to two children’s shelters, and expanded efforts to detect early-stage renal failures.

Applications will be accepted from December 1st until January 14th and can be found online at abarcahealth.com/bettercare-en. Submissions will be evaluated based on potential community impact, alignment with Abarca’s core values, and ongoing volunteer opportunities for Abarcans.

Three winners will be announced on February 9th. These organizations will each receive a grant and virtual volunteer support from Abarcans.

For more information, visit abarcahealth.com/.

World Diabetes Awareness Day: Nurses make the difference

World Diabetes Day is the global community’s most extensive diabetes awareness campaign reaching an audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of great importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.

In 2020, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on promoting nurses’ role in the prevention and management of diabetes. Learn more about the theme and key messages and view the resources available for you to take part in this campaign.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems, such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that with the proper knowledge and tools, you can take steps to prevent diabetes and manage it to live a normal life.

According to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), an estimated 30.3 million people in the U.S (9.4% of the population) have diabetes. Worst yet, about 1 in 4 people with diabetes don’t know they have it. An estimated 84.1 million Americans aged 18 years or older have pre-diabetes. Take the pre-diabetes risk test.

Learn the differences between Diabetes Type 1 versus Type 2:
There are important differences between type 1 diabetes (~5% of persons) and type 2 diabetes (90-95% of persons). Other types, such as unusual genetic forms of diabetes, also exist. Diagnosing the type of diabetes is vital for appropriate medical treatment.

Some types of diabetes — like type 1 — are caused by factors that are out of your control. Others — like type 2 — can be prevented with better food choices, increased physical activity, and weight loss. Discuss potential diabetes risks with your doctor. If you’re at risk, have your blood sugar tested and follow your doctor’s advice for managing your blood sugar.

The first step to preventing type 2 diabetes is knowing your risk. Find out through this interactive test provided by the International Diabetes Federation.

When left untreated or unmanaged, diabetes can lead to life-changing complications. Fortunately, there is support and resources out there –with adequate information, you can help change the course of your own or someone else’s life. The NIDDK, along with many other organizations, provides overviews on diabetes prevention, symptoms, changes you can make in your diet and exercise routines, and managing the condition.

The first step in preventing diabetes is knowing your risk. Abarca stands committed to raise awareness diabetes has on our communities by spreading awareness on the management, care, prevention, and education of diabetes.

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This blog was written by Lillian Colón-López, MPH, Pharm. D., Clinical Client Advisor at Abarca Health.

Abarca goes all in this Movember by bringing awareness to Men’s Health

Movember is an annual campaign involving the growing of mustaches and other activities during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as Prostate and Testicular Cancers, as well as mental health. Abarca goes all in to offer men and their families greater clarity on when to get tested, and empowering them with the information to make life-saving choices. 

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer (PC) occurs from mutations in genes in the prostate and is the 2nd most common type of cancer in men in the country. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with the disease, but did you know that PC is 99% treatable if detected early? Prevention and early detection can be a game-changer. Learn more about prostate cancer prevention. 

Knowing your risks is more than half the battle. Risk factors for PC include family history, genetic factors, race, lifestyle, and dietary habits. Take this quick quiz from the Prostate Cancer Foundation to find out when you should start talking to your doctor about screening

It is essential to keep in mind that cancer is estimated to be 42% preventable with certain lifestyle changes. This invaluable resource includes everyday changes you can make to keep your body safe from the kinds of cell damage related to all forms of cancer.

 

Testicular Cancer

On the other hand, testicular cancer (TC) is generally rare but is the most common cancer found in males ages 15 to 34. It’s also one of the easiest cancers to cure. About 95% of those survive more than five years after its found.

Unfortunately, many men with TC have no known risk factors, and those that are known can not be changed. For these reasons, it’s not possible to prevent most cases of TC. Risk factors for testicular cancer include an undescended testicle, family history, HIV infection, carcinoma in situ of the testicle, race, and body size. 

Early detection can save lives! Get an appointment with your doctor if you feel anything new, abnormal, or painful in that area. Find out how testicular cancer is tested for, diagnosed, and staged. With a proper exam, your doctor can provide various tests to get to the bottom of what it is you’re feeling. Read more on causes, risk factors and prevention of TC, as well as treatment options available as provided by the American Cancer Society. 

Mental Health

Movember was initially focused on prostate and testicular cancers but has widened its views and, in time, has added mental health issues amongst men, old and young, to its mission.

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, measures like isolation and statewide lockdowns were put in place to negate and reduce the spread of the deadly virus. These measures have impacted how we all socialize, and for those who relied on this as their only source of connection with other people, you can bet that it has taken a toll on their physical and psychological health.

Suicide, among other mental health issues, has been increasing throughout the years. With the reduced intimacy, bonding, and social activities resulting from the pandemic, one can only imagine how those numbers will look like by the end of the year.

A May survey from Movember found that almost half of the percentage of men from 4 different countries said no one has checked on them since the beginning of the pandemic. These check-ins are one way to reduce/prevent suicide – as it has been shown in numerous studies.

Movember has taken the initiative and released several digital tools to help keep men connected and mentally healthy throughout these digital times. You can find more about these tools by heading into the following link.

As part of our mission in finding a better way in healthcare, Abarca takes action this Movember by bringing awareness to Prostate and Testicular Cancers, as well as Mental Health, through education and critical information on screening and prevention that can ultimately save lives. If you haven’t checked in on the physical and mental wellbeing of the men in your lives lately, today is the day.

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This blog was written by Lillian Colón-López, MPH, Pharm. D., Clinical Client Advisor, and Juan Vilaro, Rebate Contract Analyst, at Abarca Health.