Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

What is more for cancer patients: increased screening or treatment innovation?

Let’s get this out of the way: both are clearly important.  Within appropriate screening, patients don’t get the treatment they need.  Further, delayed screening can make treatments less effective if the cancer has progressed or metastasized.  On the other hand, without effective treatment, screening won’t have a major impact on patient outcomes. The question is, […]

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Cancer survival around the world

An interesting study measuring trends in cancer survival between 2000 and 2014 found, unsurprisingly, that patients in more developed countries had better survival. For women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2010 and 2014, 5-year survival rates reached 89.5% in Australia and 90.2% in the United States, but generally varied worldwide and remained low in some […]

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Measuring cause-specific mortality?

This question is not so easy to answer, even when using data from a randomized trial.  Further, many studies do not have the statistical power to identify cause-specific mortality.  Consider the following example from Kim and Thompson: Consider a trial of an intervention only influencing a single cause of death, or a few specific causes […]

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Measuring the Value of Decreased Mortality Rates

How do you measure the value of reduced mortality from a specific disease? Just because you are less likely to die from AIDS in a given year does not mean that your likelihood of dying from cancer will decrease. Thus, how does one model the monetary value of a decrease in disease-specific mortality within a […]

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Kaplan-Meier Survival Curves

Survival analysis is used in many contexts.  Some examples include: Medical research: fraction of patients living for a certain amount of time after treatment. Economics: length of time people remain unemployed after a job loss. Engineering: time until failure of machine parts. Ecology: how long fleshy fruits remain on plants before they are removed by […]

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Hospice Care and Lung Cancer Survival

Metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer, the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, is a debilitating disease that results in a high burden of symptoms and poor quality of life; the estimated prognosis after the diagnosis has been established is less than 1 year. Due to the high mortality rates of metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, palliative […]

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