The Baltimore Sun (1/8, Cohn) reports “doctors at the University of Maryland have developed a new form of radiation treatment,” delivered by a machine called the GammaPod, “that may reduce or eliminate the need for surgery to remove tumors in patients with early-stage breast cancer.” Physicians “said it will not only reduce the number of radiation treatments a patient may need but will zap the cancer so thoroughly that there may be nothing left for surgeons to tackle.” The GammaPod will be marketed by Xcision Medical System based in Columbia, a company created by university doctors, “and the technology could be costly,” the article suggests.
According to the Washington Post (1/4, McGinley) in “To Your Health,” a report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) indicates the US’ “overall cancer death rate declined 1.7 percent in 2015.” The data indicate that “overall, the cancer death rate has dropped from 215.1 per 100,000 population in 1991 to 158.6 per 100,000 in 2015.”
On its website, NBC News (1/4, Fox) reports, “More than 2.3 million people have not died of cancer since 1991 who otherwise would have if cancer rates had remained unchanged... said” the ACS.
TIME (1/4, Park) reports, “One of the biggest forces behind the decline is a reduction in smoking, thanks to public health campaigns warning of its dangers, and tobacco taxes that discourage people from picking up the habit.” Although lung cancer, for instance, “remains a leading cause of cancer death, death rates have dropped by 45% among men from 1990 to 2015 and by 19% among women from 2002 to 2015.”
Aunt Minnie (1/4) reports, however, that “gains in lung cancer survival are being slowed because so few individuals who are eligible for CT lung cancer screening actually undergo the scans.”
Meanwhile, HealthDay (1/4, Gordon) reports, “During the past 10 years, cancer death rates in men” declined by approximately “2 percent per year, but they remained steady in women.” Additionally, the investigators “found a persistent gap between cancer death rates between whites and blacks.” The data indicated “in 2015, the cancer death rate was 14 percent higher in black people than in white people.” The findings were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Bloomberg News (1/4, Levingston) and MedPage Today (1/4, George) also cover the story.
Aunt Minnie (1/4) reports a new study suggests that breast cancer screening protocol based only on a woman’s risk factors, rather than on age, could “result in delayed detection for many women.” The findings published in the American Journal of Roentgenology “suggest that a risk-based approach to screening, considered by some to be useful for alleviating the so-called harms of mammography and reducing healthcare costs, could be dangerous for many women at average risk of breast cancer, wrote a team led by Dr. Colleen Neal from the University of Michigan.” Dr. Neal and colleagues concluded, “Delaying initiation or decreasing the frequency of breast cancer screening for average-risk women could...sacrifice an important mortality reduction benefit.”
Aunt Minnie (1/2, Yee) reports that fewer than “20% of women in the Medicare population received digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) exams in 2015, the first year of Medicare coverage for the technology, according to research presented at the recent RSNA 2017 meeting.” Presenter Dr. Gilda Boroumand from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia explained in an interview, “Yes, fewer than 20% of breast cancer screening studies were performed with tomosynthesis in 2015, but that is still a large number considering the magnitude of effort and cost that is necessary for practices to acquire the technology.” Boroumand added, “The Medicare data are very useful. They confirm that tomosynthesis has crossed over from the experimental to the clinical realm and show that radiologists really have embraced this new technology.”