Benefits and black holes in the latest Cochrane evidence

If you read my last blog, you’ll know I’ve been getting hot under the collar about evidence gaps and I’m not about to quieten down about those any time soon, as you’ll see if you read to the end of the blog. There are not just gaps but some enormous black holes, this time not because no evidence was found but because so much of it was unusable. But at least there’s good news too; some reviewers find what they’re looking for and can give us evidence which shows benefits from particular interventions. So, if you logged on thinking you’d like to read about teeth, pain (from several causes), schizophrenia treatments, gut bacteria and jellyfish (really!), you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading

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Take a look: better diagnosis in pancreatic cancer

Key message: When CT scan shows a pancreatic or periampullary cancer that looks like it can be removed by surgery, having diagnostic laparoscopy may decrease the rate of unnecessary surgery by giving more information about whether this is likely to be so.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is drawing to a close. It’s been an opportunity for Pancreatic Cancer Action to raise awareness of a disease which is the fifth leading cause of cancer death here in the UK, where survival rates are among the worst in Europe and have not changed in over 40 years. The good news is that a new Cochrane review  from the Cochrane Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases (UGPD) Group has just been published with evidence that a diagnostic technique, laparoscopy, may help to reduce the number of people undergoing surgery unnecessarily.  Continue reading