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Daily Recap: COVID-19 care delays mean excess cancer deaths; flu vaccine recommendations


 

Here are the stories our MDedge editors across specialties think you need to know about today:

COVID-related care delays mean excess cancer deaths

There could be 10,000 excess deaths from breast and colorectal cancer over the next 10 years as a result of missed screenings, delays in diagnosis, and reductions in oncology care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to predictions generated by a National Cancer Institute model.

The number of excess deaths per year would peak in the next year or two, likely sooner for colorectal cancer than for breast cancer.

In an editorial published June 19 in Science, NCI Director Norman “Ned” Sharpless, MD, highlighted the modeling. In an interview, he pointed out that this analysis is conservative because the researchers evaluated only two types of cancer. They chose breast and colorectal cancer because these are common cancers – accounting for about one-sixth of all cancers – with relatively high screening rates.

“We didn’t model other cancer types, but we have no reason to think that we’re not going to see the same thing with other types of malignancies,” he said. “That is a significant amount of excess mortality.” Read more.

Diabetes control in U.S. youth has worsened over time

Glycemic control among youth with diabetes is no better today than it was in 2002 and in some subgroups it’s worse, according to data reported at the virtual American Diabetes Association scientific sessions. This finding comes despite the increased availability of diabetes technology, newer therapies, and more aggressive recommended blood glucose targets.

A particularly striking data point was seen among youth who had type 2 diabetes for 10 years or more: average A1c skyrocketed from 7.9% in 2008-2013 to 10.1% in 2014-2019. The numbers were small, 25 patients in the earlier cohort and 149 patients in the later, yet the difference was still statistically significant.

“Our finding that current youth and young adults with diabetes are not demonstrating improved glycemic control, compared to earlier cohorts in the SEARCH study, was surprising given how the landscape of diabetes management has changed dramatically over the past decade,” Faisal S. Malik, MD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said in an interview. Read more.

CDC advisors approve flu vaccine recommendations for 2020-2021

A pair of new vaccines for adults aged 65 years and older will be available for the 2020-2021 flu season – Fluzone high-dose quadrivalent, which replaces the trivalent Fluzone high-dose and Fluad quadrivalent (Seqirus), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

At a virtual meeting on June 24, the committee voted unanimously to approve the vaccine recommendations for annual influenza immunization of all individuals aged 6 months and older. They also voted to accept some guidance and language changes to the recommendations. Read more.

How can we better engage black men as patients?

In a new commentary, Kevin M. Simon, MD, seeks to answer a key question: “How do psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians better engage men of color?” Dr. Simon, a psychiatrist at Boston Children’s Hospital, recommends creating a comfortable environment, allowing for storytelling, assuring confidentiality, being aware of nonverbal language, and being respectful.

“Those on the front lines providing mental health services should understand black men’s mental health from an ecological perspective. Beyond the emotional burden that mental illness imposes on the individual, there are more considerable interpersonal and societal implications for the state of black men’s mental health. As such, in our full capacity like other men, black men play an essential role within families, churches, neighborhoods, and organizations,” Dr. Simon wrote. Read more.

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