Author: FM Liew
Date: 09-30-11 06:31
The (Lack of) Reliability of Conventional Cancer Statistics
When it comes to conventional cancer treatment, another key point to consider is the way its statistics are packaged. In her well-researched and well-written book "Outsmart Your Cancer", Tanya Harter Pierce outlines 6 main ways in which cancer statistics are manipulated to make them look better than they are - she had obtained these findings mainly from the excellent work of Lorraine Day, MD, and Ralph W Moss, PhD.
* "Cure" is defined as being alive 5 years after diagnosis. This means that a person could be very sick with cancer for 5 years and 1 day, after which he or she dies, and still be declared as "cured" by chemotherapy. Isn't this simply playing with words?
* Certain types of cancer and certain groups of people which exhibit poor recovery rates are simply excluded from overall statistics. This artificially raises the average "cure" rate.
* Easily curable cancerous and even pre-cancerous conditions are included in overall statistics. An example for the latter is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which was included in and now accounts for a significant portion of breast cancer statistics. This move artificially increases the overall recovery rate.
* Earlier detection is taken to mean longer survival time. This means that a person may die at the exact same point of cancer development as another person, but the former is taken to have lived longer simply by virtue of the fact that his tumor was discovered earlier. In other words, different start points are used. Isn't this merely delusional?
* Patients who fail to "complete" conventional treatment protocols are excluded from overall statistics. This means that if a patient prescribed a 10-course chemotherapy protocol dies after 9 sessions, he is not included as a "failure" case. Control groups, however, play by different rules. This, again, artificially raises cure rates for conventional protocols. Isn't this totally unscientific?
* Adjusting for "Relative Survival Rate". This is perhaps best explained by Dr Moss: "Relative survival rates take into account the 'expected mortality figures'. Put simply, this means that if a person hadn't died of cancer he might have been run over by a truck, and that must be factored into the equation." Once again, this artificially raises the success rates of conventional treatment.
Taking into account the abovementioned, two main questions spring to my mind. Are cancer patients and their families informed of the fine print of cancer statistics when they are advised by their doctors to proceed with conventional cancer treatment, or when they are told that chemotherapy offers a such-and-such percentage of "cure" and is therefore their best (or only) option?
And, if, even after such deliberately deceptive maneuvers, official conventional cancer statistics still read so poorly, how bad exactly would the real statistics read without the blatant manipulation?
Intuitively, we probably know the rough answers.
Ultimately, the choice to go conventional, alternative or a combination of both is a decision which lies and should continue to lie with patients and their families. It will be a sad day when sick people are forced to undergo any particular protocol, especially when, statistically speaking, the method does not even work.
But a fundamental assumption underlying free will is the availability of perfect information, which unfortunately seems far from reality as far as cancer treatment is concerned. In choosing the type of cancer therapy to undergo, the above questions must be seriously considered by those affected. And if certain parties choose to present blinkered perspectives of reality, then it is up to cancer patients and their families to do as much as they can to patch up the remaining portions of that reality which are blocked from their view.