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November 03 2013

Cancer data for the U.S. released

Cancer data for the U.S. released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their most recent cancer data a few days ago. It’s the numbers for 2010, which feels dated. However, the annual data goes back to 1999, across demographics and states, which makes this data worth a look. You can download the delimited files here.

A browser accompanies the release, as shown below. It’s really just that though, leaving analysis up to you, and it’s rough around the edges.

#etats-unis #santé #épidémiologie #cancer

September 24 2013

KEI opening statement at WIPO General Assembly | Knowledge Ecology International

KEI opening statement at WIPO General Assembly | Knowledge Ecology International

According to the WHO, 7.6 million people worldwide died from cancer in 2008 and more approximately 70% of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries — more than 5 million deaths per year in developing countries from cancer.
KEI notes that there have been attacks on India, in its efforts to expand access to patented cancer drugs.
History will not look kindly on those who contribute to medical #apartheid, as regards #cancer and other deadly illnesses.

#santé #brevets

Sponsored post

July 09 2013

L'invention du pré-cancer du sein - La Vie des idées

L’invention du pré-cancer du sein - La Vie des idées

Au-delà d’un sujet particulièrement grave qu’il contribue à repolitiser, l’ouvrage d’Ilana Löwy éclaire avec acuité les tendances sous-jacentes aux sociétés des pays riches, où la médecine étend progressivement son territoire en venant à s’occuper non seulement des malades, mais des bien-portants. Au nom de leur responsabilité et de leur bien-être, les individus sont sommés d’intérioriser des pratiques anxiogènes de calcul du risque. Ils en viennent à évoluer dans un monde particulièrement incertain, et recherchent en parallèle des certitudes face à la maladie et la mort. Enfin, le droit à l’autonomie des patients est proclamé, mais n’empêche pas en certains domaines des formes de domination médicales auxquelles il est très difficile de résister. On peut regretter que, par manque d’espace sans doute, ni la question des rapports sociaux de sexe ni celle d’une prévention fondée sur la prise en compte des facteurs environnementaux ne soient véritablement traitées dans le livre. Il n’en est pas moins une contribution particulièrement remarquable à la sociologie des sciences.

#médecine #sociologie #cancer #seins

July 03 2013

Essais_nucléaires : ce que l'Etat a caché pendant 50 ans - 03/07/2013 -

#Essais_nucléaires : ce que l'Etat a caché pendant 50 ans - 03/07/2013 -

Retombées massives de plutonium, zone radioactive bien plus importante qu'annoncée, nous levons le voile sur l'un des grands secrets de l'armée française.
« Secret défense. » Pendant des dizaines d'années, ce sceau inviolable a empêché les vétérans des campagnes d'essais nucléaires français, et les civils qui les ont subis, d'avoir accès aux données de l'armée. A ces militaires malades de cancer, ces civils exposés aux retombées radioactives, l'armée a toujours opposé la même réponse : les essais étaient contrôlés, les conséquences minimes. Jusqu'en décembre. Pour la première fois, un gouvernement a accepté de déclassifier une partie de ces éléments, à la demande de la justice qui enquête depuis 2006. 58 documents, 2050 pages sur les essais aériens en Polynésie, de 1966 à 1974, auxquels nous avons pu avoir accès. Ils donnent une idée de ce que, sous couvert de protéger notre dissuasion nucléaire, l'armée a caché.
Info via le Guardian
French nuclear tests 'showered vast area of Polynesia with radioactivity'

Le Parisien said the documents “lifted the lid on one of the biggest secrets of the French army”. It said papers showed that on 17 July 1974, a test exposed Tahiti to 500 times the maximum allowed level of plutonium fallout.

Bruno Barillot, who has investigated the impacts of the nuclear tests for the Polynesian government, complained of the high levels of thyroid cancers and leukaemia in Polynesia. He said the declassified documents revealed Tahiti had “literally been showered with plutonium for two days” during the Mururoa test; from the outset France knew the impact spread further than it publicly admitted. But of the 2,050 pages declassified, 114 remained blacked out.

#nucléaire #armée #cancer #leucémie #Polynésie

June 24 2013

Science Policy Podcast - Janet Rowley (21 June 2013)

Janet Rowley reflects on her forty-year-old discovery of chromosomal translocation in patients with leukemia that ultimately revealed cancer as a genetic disease.

February 14 2011

Ronald Searle cartoons go on show to help breast cancer charities

Private drawings he created while his wife suffered from the disease will be on display at Cartoon Museum in London

Cheerful Mrs Mole pottered happily around her idyllic home, stitching patchwork, making cakes, stirring pots, arranging flowers, at an absolutely gruesome time in the lives of the cartoonist Ronald Searle and his wife, Monica.

The complete collection of Mrs Mole drawings, created by Searle and intended as private, bittersweet jokes never meant for publication, will go on display at the Cartoon Museum in London this week.

In 1969, Monica was diagnosed with breast cancer and given only a few months to live. She was offered a course of what in those days was seen as an experimental form of chemotherapy. Searle, regarded by his peers as the greatest living cartoonist, recalls his reaction: "I had only my talent for drawing ... so I drew."

He gave her the Mrs Mole drawings as she lay in her hospital bed in Paris, one for each of her treatments, showing Monica's alter ego cheerful and busy in a setting heavily based on their own home in a village in Provence.

The drawings were full of details from their domestic life: her grandmother also pottered about carrying a basket of keys, and in the renovation of their own house they had recently discovered a bundle of huge, ancient keys. Monica recalled: "I would lie in bed, living the life he created in the pictures."

She was pronounced clear of the cancer in 1975, and today they still live in Mrs Mole's beautiful house.

Searle, whose first published drawings recall the three and a half years he survived in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and who went on to create the hellish schoolgirls from St Trinians and the immortal Nigel Molesworth, has been awarded a CBE in Britain and the Legion d'Honneur in his adopted home in France. He is a trustee of the Cartoon Museum, which mounted a retrospective last year to mark his 90th birthday.

The museum is working with breast cancer charities on the exhibition, which runs until 20 March.

Image courtesy of Ronald Searle © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

December 13 2010

Tom Lubbock: the pain and the pleasure

The art critic's collages capture the hurt and hilarity that has also marked his battle with a brain tumour

A many-headed creature with gurning, snarling, goofy heads, whose multiple necks are a tangle of bleached, sinuous branches, and whose heads are part fish, part sheep, part scary undersea life, writhes off the wall.

This beast, a collage by critic and illustrator Tom Lubbock, began life as a sort of modern-day Cerebus, the neighbourhood mutt from Hades who would definitely contravene the Dangerous Dogs Act. When Lubbock made it in 2000, it was just a fanciful thing on his drawing board, made of scraps of found photos. But in the context of a new show of Lubbock's work at Victoria Miro in London, My Personal Beast seems a very different monster – as the brain tumour, diagnosed in 2008, whose ravages Lubbock described so movingly and profoundly in the Observer last month. The work is entitled My Personal Beast. We all have our personal beasts, the monsters roaming the psyche. This one turned around and bit its owner.

It sprang from the main section of the Independent, where Lubbock worked as a regular illustrator, producing a weekly collage from 1999-2004; since 1997 he has also been the paper's chief art critic, following my own brief stint on the paper. Week after week Lubbock contrived his arresting images, given free rein to comment on the news or just to let his imagination roam. His personality, so wry and full of insight, and never taking things at face value, is as much in his collages as it is in his writing. Of all my newspaper art critic colleagues, he has seemed the most individual and acute, a very gifted writer, and the one I like the best, whether I agree with him or not. On those hideous group press trips critics often take (and which some of us do our best to avoid), he has always been someone I'm pleased to see. He wouldn't loudmouth his opinions, and he always went his own way. I've got to know Lubbock more since the onset of his illness. Last winter we went to Leeds together, to look at a cabinet of 17th-century Qing Dynasty Chinese philosophers' stones at the Henry Moore Institute. He'd started having fits and could no longer travel alone.

Articulate and enthusiastic about the things he loves, harrumphing and funny, a man of appetites, he was already beginning to fumble for words, to stall in the middle of sentences, waylaid by a gulf that would open up between the idea and the word, the names of things deserting him. He'd have to go the long way around to corral his thoughts. He seemed to view what was happening to him with fascination as much as a deep frustration. He could be funny about it, and still can, even though it is progressively difficult to know what he's trying to express. Hospital visits can be like a game of charades, everyone trying to guess the word he's searching for. It is painful and hilarious, just like his collages.

Some can make you laugh out loud – his fanciful pub sign, adorned with bits of bodies, for a hostelry called The Human Genome. Or the one of a close up of a nostril caught in mid-sneeze, with a baby being born amidst the spray, a scrunched-up face surfing a gush of liquid. How primal we become when we sneeze. Another work, The Museum of Labels, made in response to the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, shows gallery after gallery whose exhibits are displays of nothing but labels and explanatory wall panels. Tate Modern was a sea of them when it opened. In the picture Lubbock's texts are screeds of nothing, just like the real thing. Like me, Lubbock detests all the misinformative guff on gallery walls that tell you what to think and feel, all those inscrutable messages from the curators of interpretation.

It's That Man Again (made for Easter in 2001) has Jesus as a jack-in-the-box, and is also a reference to ITMA, the second world war radio comedy series starring Tommy Handley; "That Man" was originally Hitler. "Become Homosexual" reads a stark (though imaginary) council billboard on a terrace end-wall, Lubbock mocking the appalling Clause 28, which banned the "promotion" of homosexuality. The council logo on the poster belongs to the fictitious Cookerborough City Council. Cookerborough? Kookaburra? I mis-read it as Cockermouth.

The Law has a square-off road marking in the gutter, a designated smoking area planted with fag-ends. A government health warning appends the Great British Cigarette Advert, with a field of cigarette package tombstones, and looks like a Rachel Whiteread installation, or Antony Gormley's Allotment. Lubbock's collages have lots of digs and homages to other art in them. Lubbock's After Holman Hunt has a desert in which the Pre-Raphaelite's biblical Scapegoat is replaced by an Afghan hound, while After Chardin has a mouse edging across a table towards a still life that has been eaten, leaving only crumbs on the table, and a loaded mousetrap. It is funny, atmospheric, unnerving and bleak, and perfectly judged.

Monty Python-era Terry Gilliam cartoon animations are in there somewhere, and Lubbock also much admires Thomas Bewick, William Blake's contemporary, and has written passionately about Bewick's tiny woodblock vignettes, with their earthy humour and their frightening abjections – the flavour of which got into his own work. Lubbock the collagist and critic is that rare, accessible – and perhaps very English – mix of the genial and the dangerous. It is good for a critic to know how things are made, the materiality of images, and how thoughts rear up from the shuffling of scraps. There are many among us that haven't a clue.

Lubbock's works are as much art as illustration, and were always more than merely illustrative. Often, they'd take you to places the mind would otherwise balk at. Frequently, his collages tilt at mortality – as well as being funny, sharp, picaresque, baleful and acute. Ouch, you'd say, when you first looked at them, opening the Saturday paper. One collage, from the end of November 2002, shows a prosaic public information panel, such as you might find planted near the entrance to a hospital. "Everything Is On Fire", it announces, followed by a section from the Buddha's Fire Sermon, concerning the liberation from suffering through a detachment from the senses and the mind. It begins: "The eye is on fire, the visible is on fire, the contact with the visible is on fire, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain." This text roars incongruously across Lubbock's imaginary info panel – apocalyptic, alarming, transcendent. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

May 06 2010

Can architecture cure cancer?

Cancer care doesn't have to mean grim hospital wards, believes Maggie's co-founder Charles Jencks: uplifting buildings benefit both body and soul. But are they just an architectural placebo?

In pictures: Maggie's Centres present and future

Charles Jencks would be the last person to claim that architecture could replace chemotherapy, but he's the first to argue that it can make a difference to cancer patients. As the driving force behind cancer care charity Maggie's, and a well-established architectural writer, Jencks often finds himself having to defend his views. The Maggie's Centre initiative, named after Jencks's wife, Maggie Keswick, who died of cancer in 1993, has grown from a one-off project to a mushrooming nationwide network – six existing buildings with more on the way, and a lengthening list of high-profile designers: Richard Rogers, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas. As the idea has taken off, so Jencks has come under fire from both the scientific community, who question the validity of his claims (or media distortions of them); and the design community, who wonder if Maggie's Centres aren't injecting more architecture into small healthcare facilities than they strictly need.

Jencks is not advocating some deterministic equation between architecture and health – as if the sight of a well-detailed staircase could somehow zap away a malignant tumour – but he does believes in what he calls an "architectural placebo effect". "A placebo is a phoney cure that works," he explains. "This is very hard for the medical profession to get their teeth around because they hate placebos but scientifically, placebos work in about 30% of cases that are psychogenic diseases. You have to believe in a placebo or it won't work, but if it works it's obviously working in some indirect way, through feedback in the immune system, let us say, or in the willpower of the patient to take a more strenuous exercise in their own therapy.

"You can imagine all sorts of ways in which architecture adds to the placebo effect," he continues, "and in that sense it's impossible to measure. Here's a funny insight: in a way, the carers are more important than the patients. Because if the carers are cared for, they turn up, they enjoy it and you create this virtuous circle, this mood in a Maggie's Centre which is quite amazing. So architecture helps do that because it looks after the carers. There's a lot of people who would quite rightly attack that notion, and I don't want to claim that we can yet prove it, but we hope to."

Jencks presents his case in a new book whose title succinctly sums up his approach: The Architecture of Hope. "It is my hope, and it was Maggie's hope, to live longer with cancer. And I think any cancer patient, if you dig not too deeply, they want to live. So is there an architecture that helps you live?"

If there is, Jencks argues, it is not to be found in the modern hospital. He describes the space in which Maggie herself received her weekly chemotherapy as a form of "architectural aversion therapy" – a windowless neon-lit corridor of Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. Many of us are familiar with similar spaces. In the industrial age, the design of healthcare buildings has been dictated by the demands of hygiene and efficiency: hard, sterile surfaces; bright, white spaces; long corridors; artificial ventilation systems. The template has been updated a little in the PFI age with atrium lobbies and toothpaste-coloured cladding, but these places are still overwhelmingly alienating.

Jencks and others, such as the Dutch academic Cor Wagenaar, believe that modernism created a rupture in the long, intimate relationship between architecture and health. That history stretches back to ancient Greece, where temple complexes such as Epidauros were about healing the spirit as well as the body, and even Stonehenge, which recent findings suggest may have been a hospital. Its modern roots lie in the Enlightenment, when it was first proposed that good design of the built environment could do more for public health than the medical profession could. In a way, Maggie's Centres reconnect with this "secret tradition", says Jencks. Yes, we need medical environments to cure us, but we also need to feel like people again, rather than patients. He is not alone in this. Witness the Circle group's recent hospital in Bath, designed by Foster and Partners, which feels more like a boutique hotel. They, too, are recruiting architects such as Richard Rogers and Michael Hopkins to rethink hospital design on a more humane scale. Or there's the AHMM's bright, fresh Kentish Town Health Centre, also nominated for last year's Stirling prize, or Gareth Hoskins' civic-minded health centre designs. Things are changing.

There's no great architectural secret at work in the design of Maggie's Centres. They are defined by inarguably positive qualities: light, space, openness, intimacy, views, connectedness to nature – the opposite of a standard-issue hospital environment. They are domestic in scale, centred around the kitchen, a place where you can make yourself a cup of tea and have an informal conversation. In Jencks's words, they are buildings that hug you, but don't pat you on the head. It's not just about giving people architecture, he argues – it's also providing information, relief, psychological, emotional and even financial support – all of which contribute to the urge to go on living. Nor is there any set of instructions for architects as to how to achieve these goals. Frank Gehry's building, for example, combines a crinkly-roofed fairy tale aesthetic with a serene view over Dundee on one side and a garden maze on the other. Zaha Hadid's outlet in Fife has been compared to a Stealth bomber – sharp and black on the outside, but mercifully calm and light inside. More recently, Richard Rogers's London Maggie's Centre shut out the city behind rhubarb-pink walls and opened up an oasis of intimate, domestic-scaled spaces, all capped by a protective roof.

The award of the 2009 Stirling prize to Rogers' building was another gesture of approval for the Maggie's Centre approach, but it also raised the question of whether they really needed such star names to design them. In addition to the six existing Maggie's Centres, there are another six under way, including designs by Dutch superstar Rem Koolhaas, the late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and some of Britain's best-known names – Piers Gough, Chris Wilkinson, Ted Cullinan and Richard MacCormac. There are plans for as many as 23 buildings further down the line, even outposts in Hong Kong and Barcelona. If the brief is so relatively straightforward, why the starchitects? Is there a danger that Maggie's Centres are becoming more about prizes than patients – a free pass for virtuoso architects to get something built?

In Jencks's defence, Koolhaas and Hadid were fellow students of Maggie's. Gehry and co were lifelong friends of the couple. They just happened to hang out with future superstar architects. Besides which, Jencks says, without the media attention generated by these names, the charity would not have attracted the public donations that are enabling it to expand. Cancer affects up to one in three adults, after all. A great many people have been affected by Maggie's Centres already, and each of the new buildings hopes to serve a catchment area of two million people. "This was not thought of way back, that architecture would make such a difference to raising money," says Jencks. "And it's a double thing: it raises our profile, but it also gives us good buildings which last, so we benefit in the long term. I can't understand why other institutions haven't done the same." © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

August 28 2008

TERRA 443: Holding My Breath PREVIEW

Holding My Breath is an experimental documentary that depicts budding filmmaker Kate Lain's rocky journey through her dad's lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. The film explores the importance of remembering to laugh, move forward, and not look down, even when the ground beneath your feet is giving way.
TERRA 443: Holding My Breath

Holding My Breath is an experimental documentary that depicts budding filmmaker Kate Lain's rocky journey through her dad's lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. The film explores the importance of remembering to laugh, move forward, and not look down, even when the ground beneath your feet is giving way.
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