Genuinely confused

A heart-rending report attributing a cancer death to the effects of the pandemic on treatment. I’m in no position to comment on the case but I’m puzzled by the wider trend apparent in statistics suggesting a fall in cancer deaths and not a rise due to treatment delays.

In the Scottish context responding to rumours of a ‘tsunami of cancer deaths‘ being predicted by opposition politicians as early as April 2020, I was struck by the NRS data indicating a fall in cancer deaths throughout 2020. You can read more at: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2021/06/30/where-once-more-is-the-tsunami-of-cancer-deaths/

The above story triggered a quick search for the data on cancer mortality in England and this ONS data is striking too. The two dominant cancer forms, malignant neoplasm, both show a fall in mortality in August 2021 compared with the five year average.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/monthlymortalityanalysisenglandandwales/latest#leading-causes-of-death

To me, this makes no sense unless some forms of treatment are actually harmful.

Six months ago, I wrote to cancer researchers and health board chiefs – no replies at all.

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4 thoughts on “Genuinely confused

  1. Perhaps because the cause has been recorded as Covid, using their 28 day criteria, where in previous years would have been recorded as Malignant Neoplasm? I see that deaths due to flu is showing a higher reduction, which would maybe support that view.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I may well be completely wrong in my understanding of cancer treatments, but even with surgical interventions, I understood the immune system was weakened as part of the treatment rendering the patients vulnerable to ANY form of immune system attack, even Covid.
    Chemo I understood to part of this process of weakening the immune system, and this poor woman simply fell between the cracks of England’s NHS struggling in the face of Covid ?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My guess is that the ‘missing’ deaths from cancer are of cancer sufferers who died of Covid perhaps a few months before the cancer would have killed them. Apart from the fact that Covid is more dangerous for people with pre-existing health conditions, the risk of developing cancer and the risk of dying of Covid both increase with age.

    Unfortunately, it is likely that there will be some cases where the pressures on the NHS throughout the UK have adversely affected treatment for cancer patients, but the main impact of Covid on cancer deaths may be seen over the next few years if many people with early signs of cancer have delayed visiting their GP.

    Liked by 1 person

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