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Let’s talk about Natsal

uclektm28 January 2014

If you were to sum up the results of the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), it would go something like this: gay marriage is fine, cheating is bad and sexual behaviours can be hindered by bad health.

Natsal infographic (http://www.natsal.ac.uk/)

Natsal infographic – number of partners
(Credit: http://www.natsal.ac.uk/)

You could also explain the results much more eloquently, as did Professor Dame Anne Johnson (UCL Infection & Population Health) in her Lunch Hour Lecture, ‘Studying sex comes of age.’

Statistics are tricky. In theory, they should confirm what we already know empirically, but often they still manage to surprise. In this regard, I found Professor Johnson’s talk a mixed bag of expectations met and surpassed. (more…)

Does surgery help patients with asbestos-related cancer?

Clare S Ryan9 February 2012

When the link between asbestos and lung disease, and a previously rare cancer called mesothelioma, was first recognised in the early 1980s, doctors quickly realised that they were going to see a dramatic increase in the number of cases over the coming decades.*

As doctors, they wanted to find the most effective treatment, and duly started implementing the therapy that they knew best – surgery in combination with chemotherapy.

However, in the recent Lunch Hour Lecture, ‘Cutting to cure cancer and ‘the limits set by nature’’, Professor Tom Treasure asked the uncomfortable question: is there any evidence that nearly 30 years of performing radical surgery has helped patients?

Professor Treasure, a cardiothoracic surgeon from UCL’s Clinical Operational Research Unit, started to answer this question by looking at patients whose primary cancer was in the lining of the lungs, known as ‘mesothelioma’.

An initial review of the existing literature describing outcomes of patients who had had surgery to remove mesothelioma tumors found very limited data, much of which was anecdotal.

On the basis of their literature review, Professor Treasure and colleagues from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital decided to conduct a randomised control trial to assess the survival outcomes of patients who had had mesothelioma surgery, versus those who hadn’t.

(more…)