The Cold Hard Facts About the US Cancer Program, Part 2: Misguided and Ineffective

Have you read our earlier write-up: The Cold Hard Facts About the US Cancer Program, Part 1: Misguided and Ineffective?

Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine, is a magazine published in Washington, USA. It is written by researchers, health practitioners and patients. Its editorial staff is headed by Jonathan Collin, a medical doctor. The aim of this magazine is to provide a forum for discussion on the pros and cons of alternative medicine.

The October 2011 issue of The Townsend Letter has another (continuing) article, The US Cancer Program and Specific Types of Cancer, 1975–2007: A Failure – Part 2. This article is written by Anthony D. Apostolides, PhD, and Ipatia K. Apostolides, BA. (Part 1 and 3 of their papers were published earlier). You can access their papers by clicking this link: http://www.townsendletter.com/Oct2011/cancer1011.html#.TsDAmpB2S7A.email

Dr. Anthony D. Apostolides is a researcher and teacher of health-care economics. He received a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Oxford, UK, and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.  Ipatia K. Apostolides has more than 15 years of experience in the field of cancer (Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati). She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Case Western Reserve University.

The authors assessed the US cancer program by analyzing the overall incidence and mortality rates of 24 specific types of cancers. The assessment, based on a long time period (1975–2007), provides results that are more comprehensive and thus more reliable than those based on shorter time periods.

The criteria used for assessing the effectiveness  of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) program were:

  1. The incidence rate and the numbers of Americans afflicted by a cancer. A constant or increasing incidence rate over time, along with increased numbers of those afflicted, indicates a failure of the program.
  2. If the incidence rate declines, but the number of people afflicted increases, the program is deemed to be a failure.
  3. A declining incidence rate, along with a declining number of those diagnosed with the cancer, indicates success in the prevention of that cancer.
  4. A constant or increasing mortality rate of a cancer over time, along with increased number of deaths, indicates a failure of the NCI in the treatment of that cancer.
  5. If the mortality rate declines over time but the number of deaths increases, then the program for the treatment side is shown to be a failure.
  6. If the mortality rate declines over time and the number of deaths decline, this indicates success in the treatment of a cancer.

Definition:cancer incidence or mortality rate is the number of newly diagnosed cancers or number of reported cancer deaths of a specific type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years), usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk.

Here are some of the facts that the authors presented regarding some of the common cancers that we hear of in Malaysia (read the authors’ three papers to know more on other types of cancer).

Brain Cancer (Invasive)

  • The overall incidence rate of brain cancer increased from 5.9 (per 100,000)  in 1975 to 6.6 (per 100,000) in 2007. That rate is 12% higher than in 1975.
  • The number of people afflicted by brain cancer surged from 12,634 in 1975 to 20,004 in 2007. From 1975 to 2007, the number of Americans afflicted with this cancer was a marked 558,716.
  • The number of Americans who lost their lives to brain cancer was 8,876 in 1975, and this number rose significantly to 12,732 in 2007.
  • On average 60% of the people who get brain cancer will die from it – a dismal outcome.

Cancer of the Female Breast 

  • The overall incidence rate of in situ breast cancer in 1975 was 5.8, and this rate climbed sharply, that in 2007 it had reached 34.8. The rate of this cancer soared 500% over the analysis period, a phenomenal rate of increase.
  • In 1975, the number of women diagnosed with in situ breast cancer was 12,591, while in 2007 an immensely higher number of women, 105,057, received the unpleasant diagnosis. During this period, the total number of women getting this cancer reached a stunning 1.7 million.
  • With regard to invasive breast cancer, the overall incidence rate of that cancer rose substantially from 105 in 1975 to 126 in 2007.
  • The number of women afflicted by invasive breast cancer also grew significantly. In 1975, the number of women diagnosed with that cancer was 226,923. This number climbed steadily over time and reached 381,125 in 2007. The total number of women diagnosed with the cancer between 1975 and 2007 was an astounding 10.6 million.
  • With regard to mortality of invasive breast cancer, the overall mortality rate increased from 31.5 in 1975 to 33.2 in 1990. Subsequently, the rate decreased to 22.8 in 2007.
  • In 1975, there were 67,924 deaths from this cancer, and by 2007 the number had reached 68,911 deaths. This means that the decline in the mortality rate was not large enough to offset increases in the population. The total number of women who died from this disease from 1975 to 2007 was a shocking 2.5 million. 

Cancer of the Colon and Rectum (Invasive)

  • The overall incidence rate of colon cancer declined by 33% over the period of analysis.
  • The number of people diagnosed with colon cancer in 1975 was 128,547, and in 2007, the number reached 136,616, still higher than the number in 1975. During the analysis period, a total of 4.8 million Americans had contracted colon cancer. This is a stunning statistic.
  • The overall mortality rate of colon cancer decreased by 39% over the course of 1975–2007.
  • The annual number of deaths from colon cancer decreased from 60,667 in 1975 to 50,447 in 2007. However, the total number of deaths from this cancer during the period of analysis was 1.9 million. This indicates that of the Americans diagnosed with colon cancer 41% will die from it on the average.

Leukemia

  • The overall incidence rate of leukemia increased from 12.8  in 1975 to 14 in 2007.
  • Even if the incidence rate of leukemia had stayed the same over time, it would still indicate a failing program of prevention. Consequently, even a relatively small increase in the incidence rate is a definitive sign of failure in prevention.
  • The other negative development of this cancer is that the number of Americans afflicted with leukemia increased steadily and significantly over time. In 1975, the number of people diagnosed with leukemia was 27,601 and this climbed markedly to 42,270 in 2007. The total number of people diagnosed with leukemia during the analysis period totaled a significant 1.1 million.

Cancer of the Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct (Invasive)

  • Data on liver cancer clearly show a dismally failing program. The overall incidence rate of liver cancer rose significantly from 2.6 in 1975 to 7.2 in 2007.
  • The number of Americans stricken with liver cancer rose rapidly from 5,702 in 1975 to 21,844 in 2007. This represents an amazing 283% increase and proves that the cancer program failed in preventing liver cancer.
  • The total number of Americans afflicted with liver cancer during 1975-2007 was 378,311.
  • The mortality rate grew by 1.3% annually. But the situation worsened in 1988 to 2007, the mortality rate increased by 3.2% annually.
  • The rising mortality rate of liver cancer increased from 6,069 in 1975 to 16,202 in 2007.  This represents a 167% increase.
  • On average, 88% of Americans afflicted with liver cancer die from the disease; that is indeed a horrendous statistic, showing the abysmal failure of the NCI program in treating this cancer.

Cancer of the Lung and Bronchus (Invasive)

  • The overall incidence rate of lung cancer rose from 52 in 1975 to 61 in 2007. This indicates an increase of 17% over the analysis period.
  • In 1975, the number of Americans diagnosed with lung cancer was 112,867. That high number increased rapidly over the years that followed, reaching 183,895 by 2007. As a result of these increases, the number of Americans diagnosed with lung cancer during the period of analysis totaled a shocking 5.4 million.
  • The number of Americans who died annually from lung cancer increased tremendously. In 1975, the number of Americans who died from this cancer was 91,918, and by 2007 that number jumped 66% to reach 152,539. The total number of deaths from this cancer during the period of analysis was a shocking 4.6 million.
  • On average, 85% of Americans diagnosed with the disease, will die from it – a horrible statistic.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)

  • In 1975, the overall incidence rate was 11, and by 2007, it had climbed 91% to 21.
  • The rapidly increasing incidence rate resulted in ever-rising numbers of Americans being afflicted by NHL over the analysis period. The number afflicted with this cancer was 23,887 in 1975 and climbed significantly to 63,028 by 2007. The number of Americans afflicted with NHL during the period of analysis totaled a significant 1.5 million.
  • Data on the mortality rate of NHL also indicate a failing US cancer program in treating this cancer. The overall mortality rate increased from 5.6 in 1975 to 6.5 in 2007.
  • The number of Americans who lost their lives to NHL increased significantly over time. In 1975, 12,000 Americans died from the disease and this number grew by over 100% to reach 24,235 in 1997; it then decreased to 19,672 in 2007. The total number of Americans who lost their lives to NHL during the period of analysis totaled 622,451. This indicates that on average, 42% of Americans diagnosed with NHL will die from it.

Cancer of the Ovary (Invasive) 

  • The overall incidence rate of ovarian cancer declined over the analysis period from 16.3 in 1975 to 13 in 2007. However, the decline in the overall incidence rate of ovarian cancer over time was not large enough to offset the effect of the country’s population increase; consequently, the number of women afflicted by ovarian cancer increased over the period of analysis.
  • In 1975, the number of women afflicted with ovarian cancer was 35,247 and by 2001 the number had reached 41,649. After 2001, the number of diagnoses declined slightly to reach 39,132 in 2007. That number was still markedly higher than in 1975. During the 1975–2007 period, a total of 1.3 million women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • The overall mortality rate of ovarian cancer declined over the analysis period. In 1975, that rate was 9.8, and it hovered around 9 for over two decades before declining in the last few years of the analysis period to reach 8.2 in 2007.
  • The number of women who lost their lives to ovarian cancer increased over the period of analysis. This is similar to what was observed for the overall mortality rate. The number of women who died from this cancer was 21,252 in 1975, and by 2007, that number had risen to 24,801. The number of women who died from that cancer during the 1975–2007 totaled 770,398. This indicates that on average, 61% of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer die from their cancer – a dismal statistic. Based on the mortality rates, the majority of these women are from the “65 plus” age group. 

Cancer of the Pancreas (Invasive) 

  • The overall incidence rate of pancreatic cancer increased over 1975–2007, from 11.8 to 12.4. The number of Americans afflicted by pancreatic cancer also increased significantly over time. In 1975, the number of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was 25,571 and by 2007 that number jumped to 37,292. The number of Americans afflicted with this cancer during the period of analysis totaled 984,698.
  • The overall mortality rate of pancreatic cancer essentially stayed the same over the period of analysis, at 10.7 in 1975 and 10.8 in 2007.
  • The constant overall mortality rate of pancreatic cancer contributed to increases over time in the number of Americans who lost their lives to that cancer; that number rose from 23,023 in 1975 to 32,525 in 2007.
  • The number of Americans who died from pancreatic cancer during the analysis period totaled 899,943; this was very close to the number of people diagnosed with the disease at 984,698. On average, 91% of the pancreatic cancer patients die from their cancer. This is indeed a most dismal statistic, showing the failing NCI program in treating this cancer. 

Cancer of the Prostate (Invasive) 

  • The incidence rate of prostate cancer show a big failure in the US cancer program in preventing this cancer. The overall incidence rate rose rapidly from 94 in 1975 to a high of 237 in 1992; subsequently, it declined to 171 in 2007, still much higher than in 1975.
  • The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1975 was quite large, at 203,058. That number increased rapidly over time, reaching a stunning 610,000 in 1992. This was followed by a decline to 515,569 in 2007, which was still much higher than in 1975. The number of those afflicted by prostate cancer over 1975–2007 grew by a remarkable 154%.
    • The total number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer during the period of analysis was the highest number observed of all the cancers – an unprecedented 13 million.
    • The overall mortality rate of prostate cancer increased from 31 in 1975 to 39 in 1993. Thus, during the first 19 years of the analysis period, the US cancer program in treating this cancer was a failure. After 1993, the mortality rate began to decline; and by 2007, the rate had dropped to 23.5. Thus, after 1993, there was some success in the treatment side of this cancer.
    • In 1975, 66,887 men died from prostate cancer, and that number rose to 102,384 in 1993. After 1993, the number of deaths declined, reaching 70,903 in 2007; that number, however, was still higher than in 1975. The number of men who died from prostate cancer during the analysis period totaled 2.8 million. This indicates that on average, 21% men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from it.

Cancer of the Stomach (Invasive) 

  • The overall incidence rate of stomach cancer decreased over the analysis period, from 11.7 in 1975 to 7.1 in 2007. This indicates that the US cancer program was successful in the prevention side of that cancer.
  • The decline in the incidence rate of stomach cancer also resulted in a decrease in the numbers of Americans afflicted by that cancer over the analysis period. In 1975, the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer was 25,226 and by 2007, that number had declined to 21,512. The total number of Americans afflicted with this cancer during the analysis period was 794,935.
  • The overall mortality rate of stomach cancer declined, from 8.5 in 1975 to 3.6 in 2007. The declining mortality rate of stomach cancer resulted in a decrease in the number of Americans who lost their lives to that cancer over time. In 1975, that number was 18,379 and by 2007, it had dropped to 10,892. The total number of people who died from that cancer during the analysis period was 481,716. This indicates that on average, 61% of people diagnosed with stomach cancer will die from it – a dismal statistic.

Comments 

On 23 December 1971, President Nixon declared War on Cancer. He promised the American people and the world that victory against cancer would be achieved within five years. Forty years have passed. That declaration still remains an empty promise, typical of statements made by politicians everywhere.   Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into this War with no victory in sight.

In 1975, Nobel Laureate James Watson said, It produced no promising leads. It‘s a bunch of shit. Linus Pauling, a two-times Nobel Prize winner said, Everyone should know that the War on Cancer is largely a fraud.  An article in the New England Journal of Medicine came to a similar conclusion, Cancer remains undefeated … and the war on cancer is a qualified failure.

Dr. Richard F. Taflinger wrote, “Statistics are a prime source of proof that what you say is true. Statistics are based on studies. There are, of course, problems with using statistics as evidence. Let me remind you of a famous saying: “There are three ways to not tell the truth: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”   http://public.wsu.edu/~taflinge/evistats.html

In this case, can we ever lie with such hard facts? Actual numbers tell better truth than the manipulated and massaged statistics put out by drug companies and their cohorts.  Ask this question – Is the US War on Cancer a roaring success or a great dismal failure?

Show me the hard facts and numbers please!

 

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