The ABC Study is an epidemiological study, the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution and control of diseases. The study will collect health related information from a large group of people and follow their state of health over a long period of time. This type of study attempts to identify the factors that lead to disease, and factors that prevent disease, so that steps can be taken towards prevention.
The following are some notable breakthroughs from similar epidemiological studies:
Smoking – lung cancer
The link between smoking and the increase risk in lung cancer was confirmed in 1954 by Richard Doll and Bradford Hill in England.
Asprin – prostate cancer
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that aspirin use may reduce mortality from prostate cancer.
Prone sleeping – SIDS
The association between sleeping infants on their stomachs and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome was discovered through epidemiological research. This led to the very successful ‘Reducing the risks campaign’.
Obesity - cancer
Epidemiological studies have shown that obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing cancers of the breast (among postmenopausal women), colon and rectum, endometrium (lining of the uterus), kidney, pancreas, oesophagus, thyroid and gallbladder.
Cancer Council Victoria's Cancer Epidemiology Centre (CEC) has been managing the epidemiological study, Health 2020 since 1990. Some major findings from Health 2020 include:
New Biomarkers Identify Lethal Prostate Cancer
CEC led research has identified potential biomarkers that may assist in identifying the most lethal prostate cancers. If the findings of this preliminary study are validated and found to be useful in clinical practice, men with less aggressive prostate cancer could avoid unnecessary surgery.
Support for a Mediterranean diet
Findings from another Health 2020 study have supported recommendations for the consumption of a Mediterranean style diet to help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Alcohol and diabetes risk
Some Health 2020 studies suggest that alcohol consumed at ‘low risk’ levels is not associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, a high daily intake of alcohol (> or = 210 g/day), even on only 1-3 days a week, may increase the risk of diabetes in men.
Exercise and bowel cancer survival
Research from Health 2020 provides new evidence of the importance of exercise in health - in this case, the effect of exercise and body weight on cancer survival.