Where, once more, is the ‘tsunami of cancer deaths?’

telegraph

The Telegraph is platforming cynical opposition politicising of health, calling the Scot Gov the SNP. The Scotsman is selecting only that stat which suggests that ‘only’ 83%, down from 84.7%, are treated within 62 days from first ‘suspicion’ and ignoring that 97.7%, up from 96.2%, who were treated within 31 days from ‘decision to treat‘:

scotsman

I’ll deal with the contact tracing data later.

On the cancer treatment ‘backlog’, that is a fact but where is the evidence of the effects that was being widely predicted? In November 2020:

In February 2021, I wrote:

Throughout the day today, this from BBC Scotland:

A Scottish cancer charity says it’s supporting patients who have a lower chance of survival, because Covid led to services being put on hold. During the first lockdown, 4 000 fewer people were diagnosed with the disease, when screening and testing was put on hold. Although services are back up and running, Cancer Support Scotland say it’s seeing patients who’ll die sooner because of a delay in their diagnosis.

We’ve been hearing of tsunamis of cancer deaths since the early days of the pandemic restrictions. The first use of the word, I can find was on the 3rd April, 10 months ago. Since then, we’ve seen a flood of tsunamis, expertly surfed by Monica Lennon and she was still riding the wave in November, unconcerned by the evidence that it might not be real.

Here are just some of the reports predicting the tsunami of death:

But, what’s the evidence?

On December 6th, from Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services at the National Records of Scotland on 2nd December: 

Excess deaths from all causes began to increase in October, but this is almost entirely due to the corresponding rise in COVID-19 deaths. Deaths from causes such as respiratory diseases and cancer are below average levels for this time of year.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2020/deaths-involving-covid-19-week-48-23th-29th-november

Over the whole of 2020, cancer deaths seem to have reduced.

Now, I hesitate here due to my lack of expertise. Readers may be able to correct or help out. I will change this section if I have to.

But according to the NRS, there were 16 275 deaths due to ‘Malignant Neoplasms (C00-C97)’ but there had been 16 478 in the previous year, 2019.

I can’t see any sign of other types of cancer in the NRS data, if there are any.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/general-publications/weekly-and-monthly-data-on-births-and-deaths/monthly-data-on-births-and-deaths-registered-in-scotland

While some of these deaths may not yet have happened yet, surely enough will have to push the figures up?

When I first became aware of this apparent anomaly of fewer cancer deaths this year, I wrote to several professors of oncology and epidemiology – no answers. I wrote to several politicians responsible or opposition spokespersons for health – vague non-answers.

Update:

My wife, not an epidemiologist but a TV detective, has suggested: ‘What if Covid killed many before they could die of the cancer they had?’

Could there be enough of them to stem the tide, so to speak?

That was December 2020. Has the tsunami of cancer deaths arrived yet, well-over a year since treatment was reduced?

The NRS data has only malignant neoplasms, circulatory, respiratory and other causes of death so I take the firs tis the same as cancer deaths.

So, between 2019 and 2020, no tsunami, no significant change at all and between 2019 and 2021 so far, a reduction in cancer deaths in 4 out of 5 months.

I’ve written to all sorts of experts, not one reply.

Am I being a zoomer on this? I’d really like to be corrected if I’m missing the point.

Is much cancer treatment just ritualistic. Remember when NHS Tayside reduced chemo doses for breast cancer and the death rate was no different?

After Reporting Scotland called them ‘dysfunctional’ forcing an unnecessary inquiry did NHS Tayside’s chemotherapy dosage variations actually do good?

telegraph

7 thoughts on “Where, once more, is the ‘tsunami of cancer deaths?’

  1. Very difficult to prove or explain
    But with a little knowledge and the application of common sense
    It is certainly reasonable to theorise that
    No matter what stage a cancer is at
    Then it must invoke a immune response
    From minimal to huge
    Along with corresponding metabolic changes such as use and depletion of vital vitamins,minerals and trace elements
    All of which in turn can lead to extreme vulnerability to contract covid
    Even by a low transmission rate that is normally required by any virus entering the body .Which a healthy person should beat off a low transmission rate of covid
    So once covid invades a host with cancer
    The chances of success for it must be greatly enhanced
    In conclusion it is almost certain that deaths from cancer during such a pandemic will fall as the number of cancer sufferers contract covid and die disproportionately and have Covid as main cause of death on the death certificate

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  2. The media in general, and newspapers in particular, are weaponised against Scottish self-government. They are colonial in nature.

    In England, meanwhile, Sir Michael Marmot, a leading authority on public health, has reported that coronavirus deaths in Andy Burnam’s Greater Manchester being 25% higher than the “England” average—leading to “jaw dropping” falls in life expectancy and widening social and health inequalities in the region over the past year.
    The finding of the Greater Manchester area were “generalisable” across similar deprived areas of England, and were the result of a decade of austerity and budget cuts—BEFORE the pandemic he published research showing a link between UK austerity cuts to the FIRST FALL IN LIFE EXPECTANCY in 100 years.

    Would the media that operate in Scotland, faced with similar research in Scotland, report it in the wider context of UK austerity cuts, or as a weapon to attack the SNP (Scottish government)?
    I think we know the answer to that.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Considering all that NHS Scotland has had to cope with over the past 16 months the fact that they achieved 83% / 20,000 people seen should be good news and perhaps for many people surprising news. From politicians’ comments to BBC Reporting Scotland reports and selective vox pops I am sure many people would have gained the impression that cancer services had stopped all together.

    But this sort of irresponsible comment and reporting by politicians and the media may have put people off from making appointments with their GPs thus contributing to the 4,000 drop in numbers.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Once past all the “tsunamis” from the Opposition, what SNHS actually accomplished over cancer whilst dealing with a pandemic was truly remarkable.

    Whereas your TV detective’s observation will doubtless played a role, there is a further consideration, FEAR of Covid exposure.
    We should remember many cancer patients will have damaged immune systems either from the cancer or through previous treatment – Given the hyperbole circulating from Scotland’s media and the self-same opposition playing stupid politics, how many were simply put it off ?
    I know of one case who needed urgent treatment and he went through the wringer when he indeed contracted Covid despite all the precautions in place. He survived thanks to dedicated care-teams but it was touch and go at times.

    When I see stories such as this float, particularly in the Telegraph, I recall the Scottish Care-Home “Tragedy” that was more about deliberate deflection from bad news in England….

    Liked by 2 people

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