Month: February 2011

Today is *not* World Epilepsy Day

I continue in the serie of “World x Day” and for a reason still unknown even to myself, I thought today was the World Epilepsy Day (it’s in fact on March 26th, called Purple Day). But, anyway, epilepsy is “a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. […] Epilepsy is usually controlled, but cannot be cured with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases.” (Wikipedia).

Out of curiosity, I was looking for mathematical models for the description of the epidemiology of epilepsy. But unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything. Probably because epilepsy is not an infectious disease for which tentative mathematical models have more predictive power (in terms of the population scale and time scale). The epidemiology of noninfectious diseases is primarily a study of risk factors associated with the chance of developing the disease. Nothing very fancy for a mathemarical model! 😉 (But if you find something, feel free to share! Thanks in advance!)

According to Wikipedia, the next World [Infectious Disease] Day is on APril 25th (malaria).

So today is just Valentine’s Day 🙂

World Cancer Day

It doesn’t seem jolly but last Friday, it was the World Cancer Day. About this, the WHO set up a nice website about cancer control.

Following my previous post on Jamie Oliver and the top 15 causes of death in the USA, I started to collect similar data from other countries. Linking this to cancers, the annual statistics on cancers in Belgium can be found on the Belgian Cancer Registry. The latest numbers are however from 2006. Here are the top 15 cancers in Belgium in 2006 (all sexes and regions mixed):

Rank Classification Cancer type Cases Remark
1. C50 Breast 9556  
2. C61 Prostate 9254 male only
3. C34 Bronchus and lung 6956  
4. C18 Colon 5233  
5. C44 Malignant neoplasms of skin 3110  
6. C20 Rectum 2264  
7. C67 Bladder 1986  
8. C82-85 Non-Hodgkin-lymphom 1925  
9. C43 Malignant melanoma of skin 1572  
10. C64 Kidney 1377  
11. C16 Stomach 1356  
12. C54 Corpus uteri 1320 female only
13. C25 Pancreas 1172  
14. C80 Unknown primary site 1168  
15. C15 Oesophagus 920  

It’s interesting to note a few things:

  • These figures represent cases of cancer and not deaths by cancer. Note also that prostate cancer is in third position but only concerns males.
  • The latests data is from 2006. The website doesn’t seem to be updated since 2008 (and 2008 seems to be the year when data from 2006 are available ; if we follow the 2-years-gap logic, I guess the data from 2009 are available somewhere but not on this website)
  • Data accessibility seems to be average. Data is there in Excel format (and PDF which is pretty useless if you want to reuse the data). On one side, these Excel files can be opened by almost every office suite. On the other side, some open format would have been preferred. And some direct interaction with the data on the website is now the norm (ok, I just wrote it doesn’t seem to be updated since 2008)
  • The classification is quite good since it uses the “Classification Internationale des Maladies” which is the “International Classification of Diseases” in English better known as ICD-10 (online).