Tag Archives: Gold Standard

When will our politicians get off their behinds and improve cancer care in Britain?

UIC research

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The World Cancer Research Fund confirms poor cancer health


But as usual, the boffins blame the poor results  on us – the patient.


Am still trying to get my head around this – but their press release shows latest official figures suggest almost a fifth more women in this country develop cancer before the age of 75, compared with those on the continent.

The World Cancer Research Fund, which unearthed the data, fears that the difference could be down to the fact that British women drink and eat too much!!!!!!!  That’s right, we are to blame.

Red Herrings galore

This seems to be yet another red herring, and attempts to put the blame on us.  No-one ever mentions poor care – but then they want to keep politicians happy.  I go on their website and the home page shows three out of the six pictures we can click, take readers through to donations page.

Instead of constantly blaming us, why not stop pontificating and mouthing hot air, and get down to some solid work to improve our treatment options?  My European friends are just as fat, and certainly are used to drinking more.  But their doctors keep an eye on their health, and will give sensible advice.

What’s more, in those countries with better health outcomes I bet you their doctors give more time for appointments.

Doctors say it is often the “Oh – by the way…..” comment from a patient as they are leaving, that actually shows up what the patient has come to see them about.  With the NHS ten minute appointment system – there is no time to take this further.

Last year we were told that our poor survival rate was down to not taking up screening.  Then the WHO (World Health Organisation) came up with research that said Britain had one of the best rates in Europe for screening take up.  So they have to think up another excuse – and come up with obesity and drink.

 Why don’t we undertake our own research?

Having been treated in Europe and Britain, I can say that in Europe I got good, old-fashioned care from doctors who LISTEN to their patients;  giving adequate TIME for a consultation – not TEN MINUTES.

Back to the WCRF research, and Dr. Rachel Thompson, Deputy Head of Science, says,  “On average, women in the UK are more likely to be overweight and to drink more alcohol than the European average, and this is a concern because both these factors increase cancer risk.

“They are not the only reasons for the differing cancer rates, but there is now very strong evidence that women who drink a lot of alcohol are at increased risk of developing the disease and that excess body fat is also an important risk factor.

“This is why one of the big public health challenges we face today is to reduce the amount of alcohol we drink as a nation and to get a grip on the obesity crisis before it spirals out of control.

“Together with other factors such as being physically active and eating a healthy plant-based diet without too much salt or red and processed meat, these changes could make a real difference to the number of women who develop cancer before the age of 75.

Hang on!

In Britain, the Office for National Statistics reported last month that 130,043 women were newly diagnosed with the disease in England alone in 2009, a rise of 2.6 per cent on the previous year. But if we have such a good record in up-take of breast screening, then it follows that there will be a rise.

And although this is apparently almost 20 per cent more than the average of 21 per cent recorded across Europe, don’t forget Europe includes many countries where mammograms are difficult to obtain.

Two years ago Europa Donna, the European-wide breast cancer charity, selected me to go on one of their excellent advocacy training courses.  During the intensive training, participants from over 40 ‘European’ countries were asked to role playand ‘imagine what their country’s breast screening would be like if it were  ‘Gold Standard’.

Some of the delegates were bemused by this;  one of them telling me it was almost impossible to obtain a mammogram in their country.  ergo – if it is incredibly difficult to obtain this – no wonder breast cancer doesn’t show up in their health statistics.

Skewed evidence

One comment in the WCRF report even says ” a pint of beer raises cancer risk by a fifth”.

Sorree – what?  Where do they get this from?

Then I remember Winston Churchill was quoted as  saying

Statistics are like a drunk using a lamp post – used more for support than illumination.

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