NCI Issues Revised and Expanded Cancer Trends
On December 22, NCI released the Cancer Trends Progress Report: 2005 Update, an online report that summarizes the nation's progress against cancer in relation to the "Healthy People 2010" targets developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The revised and expanded cancer trends report, updated every 2 years since 2001, can be found at http://progressreport.cancer.gov.
The report includes several new features, including trends in specific cancer treatment practices. "This is the first time in the progress report that we've been able to summarize treatment trends data for breast and colorectal cancers," said Dr. Jon Kerner, deputy director of NCI's DCCPS. "This may make the progress report of more interest to clinicians."
For example, the section on breast cancer treatment trends notes that "The proportion of women with node-positive disease receiving appropriate treatment is high. Older women receive less treatment than younger women, but there are not major differences in treatment among major racial and ethnic groups." The section covers trends in breast-conserving surgery and multi-agent chemotherapy, along with other treatment modalities.
The Cancer Trends Progress Report is intended for policymakers, researchers, clinicians, and public health service providers, and offers updated national trends data on the continuum of cancer control from prevention, early detection, and diagnosis through treatment, survivorship, and end-of-life issues. It highlights both areas of progress and where the nation is losing ground in each aspect of the continuum.
"What makes the progress report unique is that it pulls all the trends data together and makes it very user-friendly for a much more diverse audience than those who tend to read the research journals," explained Dr. Kerner.
The 2005 update boasts improved access and usability features that were suggested by users of the 2001 and 2003 reports. It enables readers to select and print specific sections and subsections of the report, Dr. Kerner noted. "We think these improved features will prove to be helpful to policymakers and may be especially useful for legislative staff trying to provide information to their congressman or senator about a particular topic. Legislators tend to like one- to two-pagers, so you can really take the 2005 update and print it that way, he said."
Similarly, DCCPS added a "Google-like search capability so that, for example, those who may not necessarily recognize their issue about cancer control in the topic heading can plug in their own terms, and it will produce a list of every place where that particular issue is addressed in the update," Dr. Kerner said. Users also can download individual graphs and charts as PowerPoint slides to use in lectures and classroom handouts. Best of all, the 2005 update includes a mechanism with which users can "provide us feedback about things they'd like to see in the next update in 2007," he explained.