Today's Family Medicine News Highlights

August 17, 2017

Globe and Mail
BC Centre for Disease Control issues recommendations to fight opioid crisis 
Medical advocates pushing for overhaul to Canada’s Food Guide 

Global News
Health Canada in process of designing regulations to detect medicines with fatal consequences

CTV News
A new approach to testing for Lyme disease in early stages of research 
Alberta to provide $1.2M for proposed supervised opioid consumption site 
Australian researchers discover long-lasting treatment of peanut allergies 

CBC News
Nova Scotia health minister asks health officials to improve abortion access

Calgary Herald
Alberta’s drug access program for patients with retinal conditions expands with third no-cost treatment option 

Medical Post
Global medical specialists gather in Quebec for meeting on overdiagnosis

QUEBEC CITY | Approximately 350 specialists from 21 countries are expected to attend an international conference on overuse of the healthcare system.

Hosted by the Quebec Medical Association in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association, Université Laval and Choosing Wisely Canada, the fifth edition of the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference is being held Aug. 17–19 at the Quebec City Convention Centre.

The event will explore how physicians, researchers and patients can implement evidence-based solutions to address the problems of overdiagnosis, overtreatment and overmedication.

Under the general theme of “Winding back the harms of too much medicine,” the conference will include more than 120 presentations on the detrimental effects of overdiagnosis and overtreatment in areas such as screening mammograms, prenatal ultrasounds, end-of-life treatment and polypharmacy.

The agenda includes a variety of plenary sessions, concurrent presentations and workshop/seminars under four overall conference learning objectives:

  • Facilitate a movement toward responsible global solutions for preventing overdiagnosis and overuse.
  • Implement solutions to the problems of overdiagnosis and overuse in the healthcare system using available evidence and that currently being generated.
  • Use best practices when communicating and engaging with patients and the public.
  • Share the benefits of shared decision-making within the constraints of modern practice.

Among the speakers are:

  • Barry Kramer, director of cancer prevention at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, on “Cancer overdiagnosis: A clash of science and intuition.”
  • Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, deputy director of The Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, on “How to determine when to scale back or stop screening, implement changes and monitor its effects.”
  • Dr. France Légaré, professor at Université Laval, France, on “Shared decision-making in the context of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”
  • Dr. Vinay Prasad, assistant professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University, on “Medical reversal: Why 46% of what we do is wrong.”

Download the conference program here.

Opioid use can linger for years after cancer diagnosis, ICES study finds

TORONTO | A population-based study of prescription opioid use by individuals who have survived cancer has raised concerns about the diagnosis and management of chronic pain problems among survivors of the disease.

Conducted by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Toronto and published in the journal Cancer, the study looked at a mainly socio-economically disadvantaged population of people living in Ontario who were at least five years past a cancer diagnosis, and compared their use of opioid prescriptions with a control group with no prior diagnosis of cancer.

The rate of opioid prescribing was found to be 1.22 times higher among cancer survivors—even those who were 10 years or more past their diagnosis—than among individuals without a history of cancer.

“Our study indicates that the prevalence of chronic pain for cancer survivors may continue to be higher, and remain higher over time, compared [with] people with no history of cancer,” Rinku Sutradhar, PhD, an author of the study, senior scientist at ICES and associate professor at the University of Toronto, told HemOnc Today.

“This may be because of the cancer itself, or due to the effects of treatment.”

Significantly higher prescribing rates were observed among lower-income individuals who were younger, from rural neighbourhoods and had more comorbidities. Sex was not associated with the rate of opioid prescription use.

Opioids are commonly prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain caused by cancer and its treatment but they come with a high risk of dependency, particularly among disadvantaged groups. The ICES study aimed to address the fact that little is known about opioid dependency among cancer survivors.

The researchers examined health records of 8,600 cancer survivors ageS 18 to 64 who were at least five years past their cancer diagnosis and received benefits from the Ontario Drug Benefits Program (ODB).

ODB benefits are available to people younger than 65 who are on social assistance or can demonstrate financial need.

The records of the cancer survivors were matched with a similar group of 8,600 people who were also in the ODB but did not have cancer.

La Presse
Changements majeurs revendiqués dans le guide alimentaire 

Le Journal de Montréal
Colloque d’experts sur le surdiagnostic et les interventions médicales inutiles 
Des probiotiques pour atténuer les allergies aux arachides : Percée importante 

Ici Radio-Canada
Alberta : Couverture d’assurance plus large pour traiter les maladies de la rétine 
Les trois quarts des diagnostics de cancer de la thyroïde seraient de faux positifs au pays


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