Puzzling prediction of falling cancer death rates made ahead of fund raising drive

According to ‘experts’ at the charity Cancer Research UK, cancer death rates in the UK are set to fall by almost 17 per cent by 2030. And better diagnosis and treatment is the main reason (sic) for the change.  The figures were released in the run-up to Stand Up To Cancer, a fundraising partnership between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.

This is all rather puzzling because in 2011, when claiming cancer death rates were falling in breast cancer and colon cancer, they predicted an increase in the number of cancer cases and deaths from cancer as the population ages over the next twenty or so years.

The ‘experts’ also claim that the improved outlook reflects the fact that fewer people are smoking. So is ‘prevention’ really the key? Or could it even be something else?

To quote from the CRUK press release, ‘In 2010 an estimated 170 people in every 100,000 members of the general population died from cancer. By 2030 this is forecast to fall to 142 per 100,000.

Ovarian cancer is expected to see the biggest drop in numbers of patients dying, at 42.6 per cent. Incidence of the disease is expected to reduce from 9.1 women per 100,000 to 5.3 per 100,000 by 2030. Death rates for breast cancer are predicted to fall by 28 per cent, for bowel cancer by 23 per cent and prostate cancer by 16 per cent.

A few cancers show a reverse trend, with larger numbers of people dying. Death rates for oral cancer are likely to rise by 22 per cent, as incidence rises from 2.9 to 3.5 per 100,000 people. For liver cancer, death rates are predicted to go up by 39 per cent, with incidence increasing from 4.2 to 5.9 per 100,000’.

Professor Peter Sasieni, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Our latest estimations show that for many cancers, adjusting for age, death rates are set to fall dramatically in the coming decades. And what’s really encouraging is that the biggest cancer killers, lung, breast, bowel, and prostate, are part of this falling trend.

“Because old age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and more people are living longer, they have a greater chance of developing and, unfortunately, dying from the disease. But overall the proportion, or rate, of those who die from cancer is falling.”

Why this is puzzling is because the absolute numbers of cancer cases has doubled in the last thirty years and a team of oncologists working with MacMillan had predicted it would double again in the next twenty years. That would mean about 4 million people with cancer in Britain.

According to the 2011 census, the population for England and Wales has increased by 3.7 million from 2001; and (to quote) ‘buoyed by increased life expectancy, sustained immigration and robust fertility levels, the number of residents jumped 7.1% from 52.4 million in 2001 to 56.1 million in 2011’. If that continues, in twenty years time we will have about 65 million people in England and Wales in 2031. According to figures about 350,000 ‘older’ people are retiring abroad each year, while about 650,000 younger foreign people are coming into the country.

And it should be noted that Cancer Research ‘experts’ are not talking about total numbers of cases of cancer, nor total numbers of deaths. But the rate per 100,000 of population. So if the number of people increasing the population by 7 per cent due to ‘sustained immigration and robust fertility levels’ continues you might expect a decline in cancer death rates anyway. Especially if the average age falls across the population.

The other claim that is interesting is that the main reason is due to better diagnosis and treatment. Three years ago CRUK said it was all down to better diagnosis and treatment and I chided them at the time. They conveniently ignore the fact that over two thirds of cancer patients now build their own integrative treatment programmes, search the Internet for alternative treatments, visit complementary centres that are independent (like Maggie’s, The Haven and Penny Brohn) or part of the Hospital (like the Butterfly Centre and the Rainbow Centre). Some people even take themselves off abroad for life-extending treatments. Then there has been an explosion in coverage of what people can do to help themselves from the utterings of the Daily Mail to charities such as CANCERactive. Only recently the American Cancer Society stated that there had been an ‘explosion’ in complementary research since 2006 and that there was ‘overwhelming evidence that complementary therapies like diet, weight control and exercise could increase survival and stop a cancer returning.

It seems that Cancer Research UK think your personal efforts count for little.

Better diagnosis? It is definitely coming with a possible avalanche of private companies and blood tests, but up to now …  mammograms and PSA tests? The Nordic Cochrane has said that mammograms do ‘more harm than good’, with up to 30 per cent being misdiagnosed (of course you are ‘cured’ if misdiagnosed). The American Preventative services Task Force said much the same about the PSA test.

Better treatments? Well if you read the recent articles on the new breed of biologics, or ‘designer drugs’, such as the article we printed by Professor Karol Sikora, you’d be more than a little underwhelmed. There are alternatives coming – like localised hyperthermia (Ablation, HIFU) but the ‘old school’ is none too happy about the possibility of becoming redundant. And anyway it can’t work on blood and lymph cancers.

And this is another little area that needs attention. Blood and lymph cancers account for about 80,000 cases in the UK currently; twice the number of breast cancers diagnosed. But they are divided into about ten different types – there are four different lymphomas. Yet no one divides breast cancer by ductal or lobular in the overall numbers. It’s also an inconvenient truth that at current growth rates lymphoma could become the number one cancer in the next twenty years.

Old age the biggest risk factor and an ageing population? Recent research shows that the historical 80 per cent of cancers in the over-65 age group is less and less the case. 40 per cent of breast cancers are now developed by women below 60 years of age. Prostate cancer has multiplied six-fold in the forty-something age group; oesophageal cancer has boomed amongst forty-somethings; some child cancers have tripled.

And I just loved the bit about ‘age-corrected statistics’. I really must have my age corrected one day.

If smoking reduction is such a big factor, how come cancer cases are set to double in absolute terms despite a fall in smokers? If prevention is so important why aren’t we doing more about the 50 per cent of cancers that aren’t your fault? Look up most blood or lymph cancers on American web sites. They will tell you about the links to pesticides, toxic ingredients in everyday toiletries and household products, heavy metals, environmental toxins beyond asbestos.

Perhaps the European REACH project, if 1000 toxic ingredients really are cut from personal care, toiletry and household products in the next 15 years, will see a great reduction in cancer levels.

Stand up to Cancer fund raising? Of course if you can convince people that you really are succeeding in beating cancer by doing what you are doing, they may well give you more funds.

Cancer Research UK is a great charity and I am sure it does its level best to help people. It is sad that, if the numbers of people with cancer are going to double in the UK to four million, anybody tries to claim that somehow we are beating cancer because of better diagnosis and drugs, however the numbers are massaged.

I am at this point reminded of MD Anderson’s quote that ‘All the exciting new developments in cancer are coming in areas other than chemotherapy’. I think I will file the press release and bring it out again in 1930 to see what really did happen. Somehow I fear the current strategy will just see more cases of cancer and more deaths whatever spin is put on it. And I haven’t even talked about whether the country can afford it or not!

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Cancer becoming an ever younger disease

New data, which makes a mockery of officialdom´s view that cancer is an old person´s disease with rates rising in line with an aging population, has emerged.

The risk of developing cancer in your middle age has now risen by more than a third since 1980. Breast cancer rates increased by 50 per cent. And prostate cancer rates grew a whopping 6 fold in middle aged men! (Ed: As usual, the report from Cancer Research UK, bumbles on about better screening, lifestyle factors such as obesity, and promises more and better treatments. Why is it only CANCERactive that talks about the significant environmental causes of cancer and the need for the precautionary principle to be adopted by Government and Health bodies alike? We want a more rigorous control on known carcinogens at state level – from BPA to formaldehyde – in everyday products, proper warnings on labels and real cancer prevention education. This study comes at the same time other experts are warning that the cost of treatments will become untenable. The UK cancer programme continues to look in the wrong direction. Where, oh where, is there a serious concern over cancer prevention.  Ultimately, our children will be the biggest losers.)  CANCERactive, Britain’s Number 1 Cancer Prevention web site, CLICK HERE

http://www.canceractive.com/index.aspx

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=715&Title=Cancer Prevention Main Features

 

 

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Scepticism and the natural medicine skeptics: not even distantly related

We think it’s about time to reclaim the word ‘sceptic’ from the anti-natural medicine skeptic movement – and yes, the difference in spelling is entirely deliberate! As we’ll see, they are two entirely different things.

Doubt versus dogma

We were very interested in a recent episode of the morning discussion show ‘In Our Time’, on the UK’s BBC Radio 4, entitled simply ‘Scepticism’. The programme, hosted by writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, traced the history of the proud philosophical tradition of scepticism, which has its roots in the ancient Greece of Plato and Socrates.

At its core, classical scepticism is the belief that it may be impossible to know anything with absolute certainty – that all beliefs and dogmas are equally subject to doubt and questioning. Doubt, and not negative assertion of the ‘such-and-such cannot possibly be correct’ type, is the true sceptic’s watchword. As such, philosophical scepticism has much in common with, and indeed has greatly influenced, the ideal of the modern scientific method: to objectively question the world around us, while realising that there can be no absolute ‘truth’ – only a balance of probabilities.

Sceptical paradoxes

Here’s an interesting situation thrown up by ‘true scepticism’. Sceptics have had great fun demonstrating that the dogmas of religion are unsupportable. And yet, taken to its logical conclusion, the sceptical rejection of all human reason can create the tranquillity through which many believe God can work; Michel de Montaigne, a noted sceptical thinker, concluded that, “After scepticism, man is like a blank tablet, upon which the finger of God can carve whatever word He wants”.

Bringing this line of thought up-to-date, the modern sceptical paradox is that a philosophy based on questioning all sides of a particular argument now finds itself harnessed to the ‘anti-natural’ cause. Such skeptics, typified by organisations such as Sense About Science, appear to find themselves firmly in a pro-GM, pro-mainstream medicine, anti-natural healthcare position. For a start, if scepticism leads us to question all sides of an argument – to reject the intrinsic ‘rightness’ of any position – how can the skeptics be so loudly pro-mainstream medicine and against all the alternatives? What scientific data are they using to support the very dubious view that genetically modified (GM) crops will resolve world hunger? Strictly speaking, it should be impossible for sceptics to describe themselves as ‘pro-science’ or ‘pro-technology’, since that clearly associates them with a belief in the correctness of modern science – an utterly non-sceptical position!

Not only that, but while philosophical scepticism has had enormous influence on the modern scientific process, the modern skeptic turns his or her back on the scientific method by ignoring centuries of human experience – and the clinical experience being gathered every day by practitioners – as ‘anecdote’. Only randomised, controlled trials in human subjects will do to prove any treatment approach worthy of consideration. So, it seems that the ‘pro-science’ ‘skeptics’ are actually in some respects ‘anti-science’, and they’re certainly not sceptics. Their position is effectively a form of intellectual fraud — and that’s being kind.

Descent into thuggery

Chris Woollams runs the charity CANCERactive, which provides information on both mainstream and non-mainstream cancer therapies – a the latter being a red flag for many skeptics, including Professor David Colquhoun of University College London. Colquhoun wrote a piece on his blog accusing Woollams of illegally profiting from CANCERactive. When Woollams protested that this was entirely untrue, Colquhoun admitted as much on his blog – but without removing the offending article! In the meantime, Colquhoun rallied skeptic friends via Twitter, to pen their own poisonous articles against CANCERactive, and Woollams. (Woollams founded the charity because his daughter had died from a brain tumour. He is yet – after 9 years- to take a penny from the charity and even donates all the considerable profits from his books and speeches to the charity.) Colquhoun only removed his defamatory post upon legal advice, presumably that he was guilty of libelling Woollams.

Bitter fruits

When the fruits of the skeptic movement are intellectual fraud, thuggery and empty character assassination, can society be expected to take the movement’s views seriously?

Perhaps today’s ‘anti-natural’ pseudo-skepticism will one day be condensed into a short chapter — of academic interest only — in scepticism’s rich history.

Call to action

Share this article widely with those you feel may have been swayed by skeptics who hold themselves out to be objective, but in reality are using a form of pseudo-scepticism to impart a dogma that supports the status quo.  This may be through the over-use of prescription drugs or childhood vaccination in healthcare, or the notion that GM crops are required to alleviate poverty and hunger in developing countries

If you consider yourself a sceptic, and can, hand on heart, say that your sceptical deliberations rely on the open-minded principles of enquiry on which the great philosophical tradition of true scepticism is founded — congratulations! However, if you are purporting to use skepticism to demonstrate that natural solutions to healthcare or agriculture are worthless, you may wish to re-examine if skepticism is an appropriate term to describe your method.  Have you, for example, become wittingly or unwittingly involved in what Martin Walker calls ‘corporate science’?

Let’s remember that an open and questioning mind is one of the greatest gifts a human being has.

The Alliance for Natural Health: http://www.anh-europe.org/

CANCERactive: www.canceractive.com

 

 

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Post No.13: Making a real difference

Becky Simpson

I have had cancer for six years.

The most important thing I’ve learned is the most vulnerable patient is the ignorant patient; and that is why CANCERactive is the best cancer charity there is. The charity understands this.

Forget women running around in pink bras raising even more money for charities who frankly still haven’t come up with any answers. CANCERactive empowers the patient. I recommend it, and the Rainbow Diet, to every cancer patient I meet.

I regularly run half-marathons and am very healthy and active. This is in no small part because of what I have learned from the CANCERactive website.

The Rainbow Diet is by far the most sustainable and well researched cancer diet out there and believe me I have tried many!!!

The only way to give yourself the best chance of survival and quality of life is through knowledge.

For example, sadly Doctors don’t always make the right choices and to know something about the drugs you are being given is crucial. CANCERactive tells you, warts and all.

I am also a big fan of so called ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ but you need to know the pit falls. Again, CANCERactive tells you the truth – when there’s research and when there isn’t.

Knowledge about cancer is changing everyday all over the world – it is wonderful, via the charity’s research centre ‘Cancer Watch’, to know about those changes and the latest developments. They have told us things that appeared as front page headlines or in on other charities’ websites only several years later.

Chris Woollams and his team dedicate their lives to helping cancer patients in a way no other charity does and, to me, he is a modern day hero.

Becky Simpson

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For a review on the Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer click this link: http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2027

To go to the CANCERactive research centre (Cancer Watch) for the latest cancer research, information and news, click here: http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=188&Title=Latest cancer news and research

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