Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 09.08.2022 Interview with: Sarah S. Jackson PhD Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute Bethesda, MD 20892 What is the background for this study? Response: There are many cancers that both men and women can develop, specifically those that do not affect the reproductive tract. Men have higher rates of these nonreproductive cancers than women. There are only two nonreproductive cancer types that are more common in women: thyroid and gallbladder. Historically, we have thought this is because women are less likely to smoke or drink and are more likely to eat well and exercise than men. This study sought to examine the sex bias in cancer incidence after controlling for those lifestyle factors to see if this explained the male predominance in cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 27.04.2022 Interview with: Leticia NogueiraPhDMPH Senior Principal Scientist, Health Services Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Kennesaw, GA 30144  What is the background for this study?  Response: Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) can deliver higher dose of radiation to the tumor with less damage to surrounding healthy cells. Therefore, PBT is potentially superior to photon-based radiation therapy to treat tumors with complex anatomy, surrounded by sensitive tissues, or for treating childhood cancer (where long-term side effects of radiation therapy are a main concern). However, PBT can cost twice as much as photon-based radiation therapy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Vitamin D / 26.04.2022 Interview with: Katie M. O’Brien PhD Chronic Disease Epidemiology Group National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Vitamin D may protect against breast cancer. Although women of color have lower average vitamin D levels than non-Hispanic White women, few studies have considered the role of race/ethnicity. In a sample of self-identified Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina women, we observed that vitamin D concentrations measured in blood were inversely associated with breast cancer, particularly among Latinas. These findings indicate that vitamin D may protect against breast cancer, including among racial/ethnic groups with low average circulating levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Tobacco Research / 05.10.2020 Interview with: Priti Bandi PhD Principal Scientist, Risk Factors Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Trends in e-cigarette prevalence and population count of users according to cigarette smoking histories are unknown. These data are needed to inform public health actions against a rapidly changing U.S. e-cigarette market. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Environmental Risks, Melanoma / 19.02.2020 Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc What is the background for this study? Response: Many cases of cutaneous melanoma (melanoma) in the United States have been attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but there was little information on the state-by-state burden of melanoma due to UV exposure. We estimated numbers, proportions and age-standardized incidence rates of malignant melanomas attributable to UV radiation in each US state by calculating the difference between observed melanomas during 2011–2015 and expected cases based on rates in a population with theoretically minimum UV exposure. As there is no population completely unexposed to UV radiation, the reference rates we used were historical melanoma incidence rates in Connecticut during 1942–1954, when the melanoma burden was low. For most adults, melanomas diagnosed in that period likely reflected UV exposure accumulated in the 1930s or earlier, when exposure was minimized by clothing style and limited recreational exposure. We estimated that 338,701 melanoma cases (91.0% of total, 372,335) in the United States during 2011–2015 were attributable to UV exposure; 94.3% of all these UV-attributable cases (or 319,412 cases) occurred in non-Hispanic whites. UV-attributable melanoma incidence rates and cases were higher among males than females, but attributable rates and cases in ages <45 years were higher among females. (more…)
Author Interviews / 23.01.2020 Interview with: Dr. Lindsay Sabik, Ph.D. Associate Professor Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management University of Pittsburgh What is the background for this study? Response: In 2006, Massachusetts passed a health insurance reform law with the aim of providing health care access to nearly all of its residents. My colleagues and I pulled data from the Massachusetts Cancer Registry on all colorectal and breast cancer cases in people ages 50- to 64-years-old from 2001 through 2013. We selected those two cancers for our study because both are common, have routine screening guidelines and have high survival rates when caught early. The age range captured people covered by the recommended screening guidelines but not old enough to qualify for Medicare. We also pulled similar data from several other states for comparison. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 18.01.2020 Interview with: Evan M. Graboyes, MD Surveillance and Health Services Research American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston What is the background for this study? Response: Prior studies have shown that Medication Expansions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are associated with a decrease in uninsured individuals and increases in the percentage of nonelderly patients diagnosed with localized (stage I-II) cancer, primarily for cancers for which effective screening tests exist. Because no screening test exists for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), access to care for physical examination and tissue-based biopsy- and thus health insurance coverage- are critical for the timely recognition of symptoms, early disease stage at diagnosis, and treatment initiation. However, the downstream association of changes in health insurance coverage following Medicaid expansion under the ACA with stage at diagnosis and time to treatment initiation, key metrics for access to care for HNSCC, remain unknown. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Weight Research / 19.12.2019 Interview with: Lauren Teras, PHD Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research American Cancer Society What is the background for this study? Response: Excess body weight is a known cause of postmenopausal breast cancer, but an important question is: can you reverse it? Believe it or not, this not something we knew for certain. We had hoped it was true, but the scientific evidence was not there. This research question is, of course, particularly important for the more than two-thirds of U.S. women who are overweight or obese, and therefore at higher risk for breast cancer. To try to answer this question, we used a very large pooled study of 180,000 women aged ≥50 years from 10 different prospective studies.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 03.07.2019 Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc What is the background for this study?   Response: In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, and premature cancer deaths impose significant economic burden. Contemporary information on the economic burden of cancer mortality can inform policies and help prioritize resources for cancer prevention and control, but this information is lacking. In our study, we provide contemporary estimates for the loss of future earnings (lost earnings) due to cancer death at national and state levels for all cancers combined and for major cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 18.04.2019 Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? Response: Despite a continuous decline in cervical cancer incidence rates, earlier studies reported an increase in cervical adenocarcinoma incidence rates. However, those reports had major limitations, as they did not account for changes in hysterectomy prevalence and used cancer occurrence data covering only 10%-12% of the U.S. population (which may not be representative of the entire population, especially racial/ethnic minorities). Further, the most recent study examined the trends by age and histology through 2010. We examined contemporary trends in cervical cancer incidence rates in the U.S. (1999-2015) by age, race/ethnicity, major histological subtypes, and stage at diagnosis using up-to-date nationwide data after accounting for hysterectomy prevalence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Global Health, Lancet, Weight Research / 04.02.2019 Interview with: Hyuna Sung, PHD Principal Scientist, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? Response: This project was motivated by our previous finding on the rise of colorectal cancer among young adults before age 55. Changes in cancer trends among young age group have significant implications because the newly introduced carcinogenic agents are likely to affect trends among young people before they affect those among older people. Owing to this relationship, cancer trends among young people can be often considered as a bellwether for future disease burden. Given the dramatic increase of the obesity prevalence during 3-4 decades in the US, we wanted to expand the colorectal cancer finding to the more comprehensive list of cancers and explain them in the context of obesity epidemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care / 21.01.2019 Interview with: Zhiyuan "Jason" Zheng PhD Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Historically, the cost of healthcare can be a substantial burden for cancer survivors and their families in the US. Even with health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can impose significant out-of-pocket costs for medical care.  These are partially due to the rising costs of cancer treatments in recent years, moreover, the increasing levels of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles also shift a significant portion of the burden to cancer patients. We found that younger cancer survivors, those aged 18-49 years, bear a higher burden than their older counterparts. We also found that two-thirds of cancer survivors enrolled in high-deductible health plans did not have health savings accounts, and they are more vulnerable to financial hardship than those in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts and those covered by low-deductible plans. These findings are important to patients because although cancer patents have benefited from newer and more advanced treatments, financial hardship may lead to emotional distress, cause changes in health behaviors, and jeopardize treatment adherence and health outcomes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Weight Research / 28.12.2018 Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study?
Response: Despite variations in excess body weight (EBW) prevalence among states in the United States, there was little information on the proportion of incident cancers attributable to EBW (or population attributable fraction, PAF) by state. This information would be useful to help states set priorities for cancer control initiatives. In this paper, we estimated the PAF and number of incident cancer cases attributable to EBW by sex in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using representative exposure and cancer occurrence data. To provide more accurate estimates, we adjusted state-level data on body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported weight and height from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, and education level (162 strata) using BMI values from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey with objectively-measured height and weight.