Finally, some good news in healthcare! The CDC writes on their weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Lung cancer incidence decreased to a statistically significant extent from 2005 to 2009 among men in all U.S. Census regions and 23 states, and among women in the South and West U.S. Census regions and seven states. By state and age group, lung cancer incidence rates decreased or were stable in most states.”
But bittersweet already seems to be the theme of 2014. Two statements to look at:
“CDC has declared reducing tobacco use a ‘winnable battle’ and supports comprehensive efforts to prevent the initiation of tobacco use, promote quitting, and ensure smoke–free environments.”
“Although many factors might have contributed to this decline, a study of 44 states showed that strong tobacco control indicators were correlated with lower lung cancer incidence rates among adults age 20–44 years.”
From a doctor’s perspective, and a health perspective, this news is worth celebrating. However, the cause of the celebration is debatable. How much of this reduction in smoking was the result of strong patient-doctor relationships, versus decades of anti-tobacco PSAs? Again, we don’t have a problem with public service announcements or even people freely electing to smoke (although we’d never advise it). It’s just worth pointing out that there’s still room for family physicians to make an impact on our nation’s health — by getting to know our patients, earning their trust, and helping them make their own healthy lifestyle choices.