Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stat of the Week: Health Care Costs

According to 2005 Paul Krugman article at the New York Times:

The following is per capita spending on Health Care

United States: $5,267 on health care/ $2,364 is government spending.
Canada: $2,931 on health care / $2,048 is government spending.
France: $2,736 on health care / $2,080 is government spending.

It's amazing how high our health care spending is. Hard to believe that our government spending on health care (medicare, medicaid, etc) is more than Canada and France's govt spending! My thoughts are that the biggest faults are the administrative costs that come with our insurance system. However I'm starting to believe that United States does not evaluate health decisions correctly, for instance over-emphasizing screening that does not extend or improve lives. More on this later, but as you can see in the following graph...yeah it's a problem.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US Trend in Tobacco Use and Lung Cancer Mortality

A question was proposed in the comments of the previous entry - how has smoking rate changed after the GIs had been given cigarettes in their rations during World War 2 (early 1940s).

The following graphic displays this trend well. It also shows the lag in time of tobacco use to lung cancer mortality. It's nice to see both the cigarrette consumption and lung cancer mortality decreasing, but sadly this is not true in developing asian and african countries where ciagrette use is becoming very common.

Source: ACS 2008 Cancer Statistics Presentation

The graphic below displays the amount of different cancer deaths that can be attributed to smoking. Lung cancer greatly outranks the rest of the cancers, with an attribute rate of 80-90 percent. However only 20 percent or so of smokers end up with lung cancer, due to other risk factors such as genetics, amount smoked, etc.

Source: ACS Cancer Facts and Figures

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top Cancers in the United States

Here are the most popular figures in general cancer epidemiology - a flavor of things to come for this blog. Please share ideas on what to show in the future.

Notice how deadly Lung, Pancreas , and Leukemia - comparing their incidence and mortality rates. It's interesting how little you hear about Pancreas, Ovary, etc - it's probably because the 5 years survival is so low that there is much less pressure to lobby for these diseases. Overall Men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, while Women have a 1 in 3 chance.

The jump in prostate cancer in the early 90s is due the PSA screening coming into the mainstream. PSA screening is still controversial today - it has not been proven to extend/save lives as of yet. With prostate cancer's five year survival rate of 99 percent, epidemiologists are asking: should we put putting men through this?
Male death rates over time - notice how lung how over-trumped them all due to tobacco use. The disappearance of stomach cancer is still a bit mysterious.

Lung cancer has recently become the number 1 killer for females, due to a later development of tobacco use. Breast and colon cancer, which diet is a major risk factor, are well ahead of the rest of the cancers

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stat of the Week: Tobacco Deaths

"But if global adult smoking prevalence declines to 20% by 2020, at least 100 million fewer people currently alive will be killed prematurely by tobacco."

How to prevent 100 million deaths from tobacco
Thomas R Frieden, Michael R Bloomberg

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Predictions

DataDrivenDecision's Predictions

Electoral College:
  • 368 Obama Electoral Votes
  • 170 McCain Electoral Votes
  • (Obama takes Kerry States + IA, NM, CO, VA, NV, OH, FL, NC, MT, IN, and NE-2)

Popular Vote:
  • 53.6 Obama Popular Vote Percentage
  • 45.1 McCain Popular Vote Percentage

  • 58 Democratic Senate seats
  • 40 Republican Senate seats
- Top Senate races (my prediction):
1. Minnesota (D) - closest race
2. Georgia (D)
3. North Carolina (D)
4. Kentucky (R)
5. Alaska (D)
6. Oregon (D)
7. New Hampshire (D)
8. Mississippi (R)
9. Colorado (D)
10. Nebraska (R)

  • 260 Democratic House seats
  • 175 Republican House seats

Overall Commentary:
-This prediction is pretty optimistic for the Dems, but I believe the polls are currently underestimating Obama and Dem support due to the cell phone effect and the difference in "ground games". If McCain wins - the polls will have made a historic miscalculation, which the general consensus being Obama +7.
-A few reasons for a McCain underestimation would be a poor response rate for polls (phone polls ~20% which could miss unenthusiastic republican voters who will still show up to the polls - or the Shy Tory Factor), overestimating of youth vote, and possibly the Bradley effect in a few states.

What to watch for:
1. See Nate Silver's column in Newsweek for presidential race
2. Will the Dems get 58 seats in the senate (60 seat filibusterer with Is)? - Watch Ga, Ky, and Mn if it's close
-How many house seats will the Dems pick up? See my prediction above, but I'll be watching MD-01, CT-04, MN-06, AZ-04, CA-04, AK-Al, FL-21, Fl-25, MO-08, WA-09, PA-03, PA-12, SC-01, and WY-AL.