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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Annual Cancer Death Rates Dropping

More good news today in the form of dropping death rates from cancer. For the first time in 70 years, less people died from cancer than the previous year. In 2002, the number of cancer deaths were: 557,271 and in 2003, the number of cancer deaths were: 556,902.

Declines in smoking, better treatments and medical research are largely credited for this drop. Let's pray it continues! And kudos to the hardworking scientists who have made fighting cancer a top priority.

My grandmother died from lung cancer in 1993 after 50 years of hard smoking. She was only 66 years old. My husband's father died of a brain tumor when Daniel was 17 years old. This past year, a great uncle of mine was cured of lung cancer and is doing very well. We are thrilled that as medicine advances, others won't have to experience the same tragic losses.


At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Gregory D. Pawelski said...

In reply to "Annual Cancer Death Rates Dropping," by analyzing non-cancer deaths among cancer patients it becomes clear that orthodox therapies often do more harm than good. For example, cancer treatment can damage the heart and cause deaths from heart failure. This means fewer deaths from cancer.

Analysis of the records of 1.2 million cancer cases in the Surveillance, Evaluation and End Results (SEER) database showed that non-cancer deaths accounted for 21% - 37% of all deaths. The authors attributed this effect to the damage caused by cancer treatment (mainly radiotherapy and chemotherapy).

I believe that any true randomized clinical trial would show these figures to be too low. In clinical trials, many patients are excluded because they could not complete the rather arduous treatment. So randomized comparisons are of healthier treated patients against all the controls, rendering a lot of trials invalid.

It's time to set aside empiric one-size-fits-all treatment in favor of recognizing that cancer represents a heterogenous disease, where the tumors of different patients have different responses to treatment. It requires individualized treatment based on testing the individual properties of each patient's cancer.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Thank you for pointing out that there was more to the story than I was realizing. As a sociologist, I know that statistics usually have at least two sides to them, I appreciate your pointing out the other side.


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