War Against Cancer

A good news in the War against Cancer: progress is really taking place. WSJ has a report that gives details. The best News is:

It didn’t attract a lot of media fanfare, but two weeks ago the National Center for Health Statistics announced some spectacular news. The number of Americans dying from cancer fell for the first time in decades. This achievement against one of mankind’s most dreaded diseases is the medical equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

This indeed is a major change in trend and if our ‘army’ of medical scientists and practitioners continue this, it will be a major medical victory. There is an unfortunate thing about it, however, as reported in this piece:

This is in marked contrast to the anti-cancer record of government-run health systems elsewhere in the world. As Michael Tanner, health-care expert at the Cato Institute, notes: “Because cancer is a slow moving and expensive disease to treat, it is not cost-effective under socialized medicine to treat the disease too aggressively. This saves governments money but at a high human cost.”

The statistics bear out Mr. Tanner’s point. Only about one in five men with prostate cancer in the U.S. will die from it. But, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, about 57% of British men, and nearly half of French and German men, will do so. In Britain only 40% of cancer patients are even permitted to see an oncologist to treat the disease. Two-thirds of Canadian provinces report sending their colon cancer patients to the U.S. for treatment. Government-run medical systems can be as cruel to cancer patients as the cancer itself.

As a cancer survivor in USA and knowing stories about friends and family in other country, I see the point clearly. And feel it.

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