Ask almost anyone you know about cancer, and they will have stories to relate about parents or family, close friends or co-workers (or themselves) who have received a diagnosis of cancer, or are going through treatments, or who have been declared cancer-free. Living as a cancer survivor has become more common, thankfully, than in previous decades, and represents one of the health success stories of our era.
This post presents a short, eclectic sample of recent cancer-related news, statistics, research or summary reports. The final portion of the post links to video presentations given by two UCHC research faculty as they discuss clinical and translational cancer research (filmed in November 2009).
First: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website provides an assortment of statistics or background pieces on state-based social or economic indicators, health initiatives, legislation or other current issues. This site is a valuable resource for reference librarians, epidemiologists, policy-makers or anyone seeking current statistics about state-sponsored programs.
NCSL provides a collection of documents about Cancer Data, Trends and Policy 2009 reports, free and open to anyone to access (although registration is required to view some of the tables). That page is where the table describing U.S. Cancer Incidence, 2009 shown below. According to statistics from the American Cancer Association, lung, prostate or breast cancers represent the most common diagnoses in the United States in 2009:
Next: Several paragraphs from a December 2009 article written by Harmon J. Eyre, formerly chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, entitled “Winning the Cancer Fight: Looking at the Future“:
” The medical management of cancer for the past 100 years has grouped cancers by the organ in which they originate and used standard interventions such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. With the development of the cancer genome anatomy of various cancer sites, individualized cancer therapy will quickly follow.
Specific genetic profiles are being introduced to project the risk of breast cancer recurrence and to shape the choice of treatment agents. We have decades of data on outcomes using estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human growth factor receptor 2 testing which dictates treatment in breast cancer. Tests such as these are needed for lung, colon, prostate, lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers. They are beginning to be developed and disseminated, with encouraging early results.
Despite keeping records in cancer registries for many decades, widespread evaluation of the level of quality care in cancer is lacking. We know that large variations in the delivery of care occur by hospital, city, state, and region. There are a number of groups working to develop indicators of quality cancer care, but there is a lack of agreement on these indicators and they are not being widely collected. For optimal outcomes, quality care has to be delivered nationwide to all cancer patients. ”
Text Source: Page 863 – Primary Care, Vol. 36:859-865 (December 2009) – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010
An 18-page annual report from American Society of Clinical Oncology entitled “Clinical Cancer Advances 2009: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention, and Screening—A Report
From the American Society of Clinical Oncology” was published in December, 2009. Following is an excerpt from this report:
“ This report [from ASCO] now it its fifth year, was developed under the guidance of a 18-person editorial board made up of leading oncologists and other cancer specialists… The editors reviewed research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and the results of research presented at major scientific meetings over a 1-year period (October 2008 to September 2009).
” Only studies that significantly altered the way a cancer is understood or had an important impact on patient care were included. Research in each section is divided into “major advances” and “notable advances,” depending on the impact of the advance on patient care and survival. “
ASCO provides links to reference information about current cancer treatments for physicians or other clinical staff, called Cancer Portal, which can be accessed at this link.
The society also provides free cancer information targeted for people living with cancer on their website, Cancer.net.
Next: Two segments from a lecture series given in 2009 by UCHC faculty. Oncologist Susan Tannenbaum is Medical Director of the Clinical & Translational ResearchProgram at UCHC, is shown in a 54-minute presentation on trends and improvements in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
The second video is a presentation on translational research given by Kevin P. Claffey, PhD, who is co-director of the UConn Health Center Breast Cancer Translational Research Group and an associate professor in Cell Biology, Center for Vascular Biology.
Next: Regarding a May 6 2010 New York Times editorial written by Nicholas D. Kristof:
” In “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer” (column, May 5 2010) writer Nicholas D. Kristof drew attention to a document being released by the President’s Cancer Panel that warns that – in Mr. Kristof’s words – “our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. ”
Text Source: The New York Times – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010
I found readers’ comments as (or more) interesting to read as the original editorial. There are 200+ comments which can be read at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/08/opinion/l08kristof.html