Cancer in the West Midlands

This report provides an overview of the burden of cancer and the extent of the identified risk factors, across the West Midlands. | Public Health England

The aim of this report is to equip care providers and policy makers with an insight into the burden of cancer, as well as providing an overview of the extent of the identified risk factors, across the West Midlands population.

It is intended to be used by commissioners of health services to enable more timely diagnosis and improve treatment pathways, and also by local authority commissioners in terms of the wider prevention agenda.

Full document:  Cancer in the West Midlands.

 

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Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has published ‘Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use’.

Tobacco use is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease worldwide. Standardised tobacco packaging is an intervention intended to reduce the promotional appeal of packs and can be defined as packaging with a uniform colour (and in some cases shape and size) with no logos or branding, apart from health warnings and other government-mandated information, and the brand name in a prescribed uniform font, colour and size. Australia was the first country to implement standardised tobacco packaging between October and December 2012, France implemented standardised tobacco packaging on 1 January 2017 and several other countries are implementing, or intending to implement, standardised tobacco packaging.The objective of the study was to assess the effect of standardised tobacco packaging on tobacco use uptake, cessation and reduction.

The available evidence suggests that standardised packaging may reduce smoking prevalence. Only one country had implemented standardised packaging at the time of this review, so evidence comes from one large observational study that provides evidence for this effect. A reduction in smoking behaviour is supported by routinely collected data by the Australian government. Data on the effects of standardised packaging on non-behavioural outcomes (e.g. appeal) are clearer and provide plausible mechanisms of effect consistent with the observed decline in prevalence. As standardised packaging is implemented in different countries, research programmes should be initiated to capture long term effects on tobacco use prevalence, behaviour, and uptake. The researchers did not find any evidence suggesting standardised packaging may increase tobacco use.Read the full text here

Cancer expert says public health, prevention measures are key to defeating cancer

ScienceDaily March 3, 2016

Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer? Would emphasizing prevention bring about more return on investment? Should we channel what we are learning about precision medicine and the genome into cancer prevention, not treatment alone?

Many people believe that the time is right for another big push to defeat cancer, including President Obama, who called for a major cancer-fighting campaign in his final State of the Union address. But in the latest paper, “Targeting the Cancer Moonshot” in JAMA Oncology, this kind of effort will never cure cancer without public health and prevention.

While there have been some important and notable cures for certain types of cancer in the last half-century, Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD, Myron M. Studner Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and co-author Cary P. Gross, MD, Yale University School of Medicine, drive home the point that these cures are responsible for only a small fraction of improvements in mortality.

Read the full commentary here

Use and effectiveness of quitlines versus Web-based tobacco cessation interventions among 4 state tobacco control programs

Neri, A. et al. Cancer. Article first published online: 8 February 2016

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Image source: Raul Liberwirth

Background: Comparative effectiveness studies of state tobacco quitlines and Web-based tobacco cessation interventions are limited. In 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention undertook a study of the comparative effectiveness of state quitlines and Web-based tobacco cessation interventions.Methods: Standardized questionnaires were administered to smokers who enrolled exclusively in either quitlines or Web-based tobacco cessation services in 4 states in 2011-2012. The primary outcome was the 30-day point prevalence abstinence (PPA) rate at 7 months both between and within interventions.

Results: A total of 4086 participants were included in the analysis. Quitline users were significantly older, more heterogeneous in terms of race and ethnicity, less educated, less likely to be employed, and more often single than Web-based users. The 7-month 30-day PPA rate was 32% for quitline users and 27% for Web-based users. Multivariate models comparing 30-day PPA rates between interventions indicated that significantly increased odds of quitting were associated with being partnered, not living with another smoker, low baseline cigarette use, and more interactions with the intervention. After adjustments for demographic and tobacco use characteristics, quitline users had 1.26 the odds of being abstinent in comparison with Web-based users (95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.58; P = .053).

Conclusions: This is one of the largest comparative effectiveness studies of state tobacco cessation interventions to date. These findings will help public health agencies develop and tailor evidence-based tobacco cessation programs. Further research should focus on users of Web-based cessation interventions sponsored by state health departments and their cost-effectiveness.

Read the full abstract here

CANCERS ARE BEING DIAGNOSED EARLIER IN ENGLAND

The proportion of cancers diagnosed as a result of emergency presentation at hospital has decreased. At the same time, the proportion of cancers diagnosed through urgent GP referral with a suspicion of cancer has increased.

Presented at the second day of the PHE Conference 2015, these results are taken from the updated Routes to Diagnosis data, covering patients diagnosed with cancer from 2006 to 2013, with 2011-2013 being published for the first time. These new preliminary figures show the proportion of patients diagnosed by route and by year in England.