Public Health News Roundup: January 18
Cancer Death Rates Down, But Could Be Even Better with Improved Access to Care
The U.S. mortality rate for cancer has dropped 20 percent since 1991, equal to about 1.2 million lives, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Improved treatments have helped cut the death rates for colon, breast and prostate cancers, but the rates could be even lower if more people had access to new and advanced treatments, according to John Seffrin, ACS’ chief executive officer. “Not all demographic groups have benefited equally from these gains, particularly those diagnosed with colorectal or breast cancer, where earlier detection and better treatments are credited for the improving trends," said Seffrin, according to HealthDay. "We can and must close this gap so that people are not punished for having the misfortune of being born poor and disadvantaged." Read more on cancer.
Survey: Shortage of Treatments for Multidrug-resistant TB
Treatments for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are difficult to come by for approximately 80 percent of the U.S. health departments that treat the disease, according to a National Tuberculosis Controllers Association survey of health departments. The obstacles include nationwide shortages, shipping delays the difficulty in procuring drugs that are still undergoing testing, while potential fixes include looking to foreign manufacturers, improving stockpiles and expediting the approval of new drugs. There were about 10,528 cases of tuberculosis in the United States in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more on infectious disease.
Obese Kids at Greater Risk of Immediate Health Problems
Children who are obese are also at increased risk of asthma, learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study in the journal Academic Pediatrics. “Childhood obesity not only has long-term impact in terms of future heart disease, diabetes and other problems that we have been hearing so many things about," said study lead Neal Halfon, MD, director of the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities at the University of California, Los Angeles. "It also has an immediate impact on the health, mental health and development of children.” The researcher said further study is needed to determine causation or whether other factors are involved. Approximately 12.5 million children and teens are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more on obesity.