Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cut Cancer Worldwide? What about the US?

This week, medpage introduced me to the "25 by 25" goal - which aims to cut worldwide premature deaths from certain non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by the year 2025.  The article gives findings by researchers of Imperial College London, indicating if desired lower levels of six risk factors were met, we could at least get close to the 25% goal.  

Cancer, of course is one of the four targeted NCDs.  As far as I can tell, the 25% lower death goal figure is for all four NCDs together.  I need to check further, but my main concern is always cancer.

And the worldwide culprits that need reduction are " tobacco smoking, alcohol use, salt intake, obesity, blood pressure, and blood glucose and diabetes."  

My main question is:  will this plan work here in my country?  

I've read about pandemic tobacco smoking in at least one country that is a major factor in their cancer.  Cutting smoking there will help.  But smoking is lower here; cutting it further here may not make much difference in our premature cancer deaths. 

So my next question is:  will we really do anything about second and third-hand smoke here?  I am saddened and amazed by the  "nobody's gonna tell me what to do in our own car" crowd.  The babies in those cars go home to smoke saturated furniture, blankets and teddy bears. And I go forth into smoke-filled waiting rooms at doctors' offices Yes,I've ranted about third-hand smoke saturated clothes in waiting rooms. (Two weeks ago, two of us waited our turn in the hall because of smoke in the clothes and exhalations of one patient.)    Insert your own answer here. . . Will  your doctor ever say:  Do not smoke in the car!  You have a child!  Can your doctor and her patients afford to get HEPA filtered air in their waiting rooms?  

Then there is the matter of other pollutants.  Industrialized countries have their pollutants that we were genetically never intended to process.  In the EU, many such pollutants are forbidden in the food, the clothes, the air. So I say, are we going to do anything about pollutants here?   Would eliminating some of them automatically lower levels of the six culprit factors?

We should be able to get close to the targets levels.  In the medpage article  Rifat Atun, MBBS, MBA, of the Harvard School of Public Health points to:  "' . . .   highly cost-effective interventions available, which could be readily scaled up in all countries."   

I dare  say  the problem that's holding up reaching the target level of these Risk Factors is evident in our newspapers and online news every day.  As Atun adds: "'political apathy prevails.'"  

My political party has never asked me for money to cut pollution.  

Who you gonna call?  Anybody?

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