Cancer is a vicious killer, and one that hits home for me, having lost my dad at an early age, and several close friends to the dreaded disease. The good news about cancer though, is through innovation and research, by top scientists, survival rates have soared.
One of the really important developments that have lead directly to more cancer survivors is early detection through screenings. But if the communists in Congress, and Obama have their way, this will come to a grinding halt.
You see, screening costs money. Not only do those tests cost money, but so do the follow up tests as well treatments. Many cancer treatments are highly successful, but highly expensive, as well.
One thing we know, for sure, when the federal government unconstitutionally takes over health care, there will be a finite amount of money to be spent on caring for the sick. To make these dollars stretch, expensive treatments and many tests will have to be stopped, or postponed. Decisions to do this will be made by unelected and unaccountable boards of so-called experts, or as Sarah Palin has labeled them, death panels.
These "experts" won’t necessarily all be doctors, but they will be bean counters.
We’re seeing a couple of issues already, and ObamaCare hasn’t even passed. The first is in breast cancer screening. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has made the recommendation that we no longer do mammograms at age 40. It is their idea that 50 is the proper age to start, and those self exams? Forget about ‘em!
From Breast Cancer.com:
The standard schedule of starting screening mammograms at age 40 may soon change, and breast cancer prevention strategies would be improved, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. Women may not begin to have screening mammograms until they are 50, and they may cease doing breast self-exams altogether, if the newest guidelines for breast cancer screening from the USPSTF are widely adopted. In Canada and the United Kingdom, 50 is already the age at which screening mammography is begun. These new guidelines may have an impact on what health insurance providers will pay for.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has updated its recommendations for breast cancer screening. After using computer simulation models to project the results of different screening strategies, the task force said that they recommend the changes because they want to cut down on the "harms" and risks of testing, which they believe do not outweigh the benefits. They cite too many false positives, unnecessary biopsies, anxiety, or in short, overdiagnosis. Their November 2009 guidelines suggest:
* Women between 40 and 49 years old should not be having routine screening mammograms. Instead, they say that women should make an informed decision about screening mammography before 50, and weigh their potential risks and benefits with their doctors.
* Women who are 50 to 74 years old should be having a screening mammogram every other year, because the risk for breast cancer increases as you age.
* Women over 74 years old are not given specific guidelines about routine screening mammography - as their risk of death from heart disease and other ailments is greater than from breast cancer.
* Women of any age should not be taught to do breast self-exams, but BSE is not forbidden.
* Clinical breast exams will not be required before screening mammograms, because CBE appears to add no benefit to the information gained from a mammogram.
In 2002, the USPSTF guidelines for breast cancer screening stated that women 40 and older should have annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have also agreed on screening mammograms for women ages 40 to 70. The The American Cancer Society will maintain their recommendation to start screening mammograms at age 40.
Mammography is not a perfect tool and neither is a breast self-exam. But it seems odd to take away these two tools, which we have been told are important, for women aged 40 - 49. This same battle has been fought before, in the mid-1990s. It was resolved by 1997, when the National Cancer Institute agreed to support mammograms for women in their forties.
In an editorial published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Karla Kerlikowske says that the focus should shift from screening and early detection to breast cancer prevention interventions. But for this to be effective, Dr. Kerlikowske says that we need a better risk model, more research on prevention, and standards "for routinely assessing risk factors, calculating breast cancer risk, and reporting risk to women and providers in an easily understandable format." Couldn't we wait, until more research has been done, before we change screening guidelines? Won't women be more at risk for ten years of their lives, if they are not having a mammogram and doing their self-exams?
This sentence hit me like a ton of bricks, just because of the wording:
Women of any age should not be taught to do breast self-exams, but BSE is not forbidden.
Are you kidding me? "BSE" stands for breast self examination. And this government death panel is telling women they shouldn’t learn how to do them, but are not "forbidden" from learning how and doing them. How generous of them.
That one word, "forbidden," when talking about what one can and cannot do with their own body, in the privacy of their own home, tells you all you need to know about the entire process that is coming down the pike, and the mentality of those who will sit in judgement on these death panels.
You will notice too, that in making this recommendation, this death panel references the UK and Canada as their model of inspiration. Two counties that have such great health care, because of government control, that those who can, leave the country for treatment of anything more complex than a head cold.
From Deroy Murdock at National Review Online:
Compare America’s system with Canada’s and Great Britain’s. The latter are single-payer, universal health-care programs in which medical treatment is free at the point of service (Yay!), although citizens eventually pay for it through higher taxes (Boo!).
According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data, there were 26.6 MRI machines in the U.S. per million people in 2004. In Canada, there were 4.9 such devices, while Britain enjoyed 5. For every 100,000 Americans, 2006 saw 436.8 receive angioplasties. Among Canadians, that figure was 135.9, while only 93.2 Britons per 100,000 got that cardiac procedure.
Maybe that’s why, among American men, heart-attack deaths in 2004 stood at 53.8 per 100,000. In Canada, 58.3 men per 100,000 died of cardiac arrest, while coronaries buried 69.5 of every 100,000 British males.
The fatality rate for breast cancer, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis and Lancet Oncology, is 25 percent in the U.S., 28 percent in Canada, and 46 percent in Great Britain.
Among those diagnosed with prostate cancer, 19 percent die of the disease in America. In Canada, 25 percent of such patients succumb to this disease. And in Great Britain — an Anglophone NATO member and America’s closest ally — prostate cancer kills 57 percent of those who contract it. That is triple the American fatality rate.
Here’s an interesting chart, for those who like charts:
CT Scanners.(per 1MIL)….....................32.2………..10.7…….…….7
MRI machhine(per 1MIL)…....................26.6…..........4.9……….….5
Male Heart MI death(per 100K)..................53.8…..…..58.3…...…..96.5
Female Heart MI death(per100K)…............29.5…...….28.1.…..…..33.4
Breast Cancer fatality%)……………...........25……......28…………...46
Prostate Cancer fatality(%)…………….......19…..…….25….………..57
Male all cancer fatality(%)…………….........33.7…...…47…………..56
Female all cancer fatality(%)………............37.1……..42………......44.2
Notice, there is a serious lack of medical equipment in Canada and the UK, specifically, MRI machines and CT scanners, equipment that American hospitals use extensively on a daily basis to save lives.
You will also notice that breast cancer is slightly more likely to kill you in Canada, and probably will kill you in jolly old England. And if you are a guy, you really don’t want to live in either Canada or the UK. In the UK prostate cancer is death sentence for most.
Sarah has weighed in again on this craziness, as now the death panels are recommending changes in other screenings:
Cancer Screenings - Rational Advice or Rationed Care?
Today at 1:10am
It was a breath of fresh air to finally hear the Democrats admit to their health care bill as "a lot of show and tell and razzmatazz," (see Democrat talking points, in reference to my book). At least now we’re all on the same page when discussing the problems with their monstrous government health care "reform" plan.
Now, tonight, more disconcerting news – the New York Times reports of new guidelines to scale back cervical cancer screenings. The recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists comes on the heels of another recommendation to limit breast cancer screenings with mammograms. There are many questions unanswered for me, but one which immediately comes to mind is whether costs have anything to do with these recommendations. The current health care debate elicits great concern because of its introduction of socialized medicine in America and the inevitable rationed care. We need to carefully watch this debate as it coincides with Capitol Hill’s debate and determine whether we are witnessing the early stages of that rationed care before the Senate bill is rushed through as well.
Another question is why these women-focused cancers are seemingly receiving substandard attention at a time when proactive health and fitness should be the message. Every woman should encourage rigorous debate to ensure that our collective voices are heard. We are paying attention to Washington’s health care proposals, and we want to hear what helps patients the most.
We need answers: Is early screening not saving lives? Why do doctors’ groups disagree? Did costs play any role in these decisions to change the recommendations on breast and cervical cancer screenings? We need assurances that everything we’ve heard this week about fewer tests for women’s cancers is a result of patient-focused research and providing the best care for the right reasons, and not because of bureaucratic pressure to control costs.
Obviously the first thought that comes to mind when hearing of these new recommendations from bureaucratic panels is "rationed care." It’s fair – and healthy – to ask if that’s what Washington has in mind with a government-controlled takeover of a health care system.
- Sarah Palin
The rationing of health care is the only way ObamaCare will work. Again, there will be a finite amount of money budgeted to the nation’s health care. Our "benevolent leaders" will "generously allow" only a certain amount of the money they confiscate from us to actually be used to keep us in good health.
I mean, look, some of this money is desperately needed for more important projects, like keeping ACORN and SEIU in the "community organizing" business. How else will the
democrat/communists keep the glorious people’s revolution alive?
I promised you more still on death panels. (Like this ain’t enough!) Here’s an alarming report from the BBC:
Liver cancer drug 'too expensive'
A drug that can prolong the lives of patients with advanced liver cancer has been rejected for use in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the cost of Nexavar - about £3,000 a month - was "simply too high".
But Macmillan Cancer Support said the decision was "a scandal".
More than 3,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer every year in the UK and their prognosis is generally poor.
Only about 20% of patients are alive one year after diagnosis, dropping to just 5% after five years.
Campaigner Kate Spall, who won the right to have two months of treatment for her mother, Pamela Northcott, in 2007, said it had prolonged her life by four-and-a-half "precious" months.
It had allowed her 58-year-old mother, from Dyserth in Denbighshire, "closure" and "peace", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"The problem in Mum's case is it took a year for me to fight for the treatment, so we'll never know how well she could have done," she said.
Prof Jonathan Waxman: "I'm very unhappy about the way these decisions are made"
"We had extra time, which was very precious to us all, her symptoms were helped greatly. And, more importantly, for Mum it was a case of getting some closure and peace.
"The psychological feeling when a group of people decide that you cannot have a treatment that can help you is really devastating."
Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Peter Johnson said the decision was "enormously frustrating" because there was no doubt about the drug's effectiveness.
He said: "There's no alternative treatment and there are no other places for people to go. It is expensive, but the only issue is cost and the number of patients affected are quite few - there's probably only six or seven hundred patients a year."
Nexavar - also known as sorafenib - had already been rejected in Scotland, despite studies showing it could extend the life of a liver cancer patient by up to six months.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium ruled that "the manufacturer's justification of the treatment's cost in relation to its benefit was not sufficient to gain acceptance".
Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, agreed: "The price being asked by [the manufacturer] Bayer is simply too high to justify using NHS money which could be spent on better value cancer treatments."
And the group's clinical and public health director, Peter Littlejohns, added the drug was considered "just too expensive" by its advisory committees.
Nexavar is routinely offered to cancer patients elsewhere in the world, and Mike Hobday, head of campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support, said he was "extremely disappointed" at NICE's decision.
"It is a scandal that the only licensed drug proven to significantly prolong the lives of people with this devastating disease has been rejected, leaving them with no treatment options," he said.
Alison Rogers, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: "The decision to reject a treatment for advanced liver cancer is a huge blow for patients.
"This is a treatment to extend life for people where all other options have run out.
"It is particularly hard for people with liver cancer given that treatments for many other advanced cancers have been given the green light by NICE.
"People with liver disease often face stigma and discrimination and sadly this decision feels like a further disadvantage to them."
Earlier this year, a government review of end-of-life treatment said NICE should give extra weight to drugs that could extend a patient's life.
The Department of Health said NICE was not ignoring that recommendation, but the NHS could not just pay for any drug at any cost.
The UK is a very totalitarian system when it comes to patient care. The system also strips it’s citizens of many basic liberties and freedoms we take for granted in America. As I wrote in an earlier piece, not only do they have death panels in the UK, these government monstrosities have evolved into what I am calling "lifestyle panels."
I had included this from the Brussels Journal:
Kerry Robertson, 17, and Mark McDougall, 25, haven’t broken any law. But they are on the run from the authorities, and from their home in Dunfermline, Scotland.
Less than eight weeks ago the couple were excitedly planning their wedding. They had booked church ceremony for the 5th of September, a Saturday. She had already chosen and bought her wedding dress. They had bought the rings, and invited 20 guests. Two days before the big day, however, social services told them that their wedding would have to be cancelled. Fife Council wrote a letter, objecting to the marriage, to Dunfermline Register Office, who consequently refused to marry the couple.
Social services claim Kerry cannot understand what marriage means, because she has learning difficulties. They are mild, it seems. She is able to read and write, and is going to college to "catch up." Her partner Mark told the Daily Mail: "'I didn't even know she had learning difficulties until we'd been dating for two months."
Kerry is 29 weeks pregnant – with a boy they have named Ben. "Although Ben isn't born yet," Kerry says, "I already love my baby and know I will be a good mum. Mark and I talk to him inside me every day and tell him we love him. We've already bought him clothes and my cousin, who recently had a baby, has handed down a beautiful crib for him."
Social services say that Kerry – a college student – isn’t intelligent enough to bring up her child with Mark. They plan to allow the couple only a few hours with Ben after he is born. Then Ben will be taken from Kerry and Mark, and placed with foster parents.
I went on to add:
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Here are a couple of young kids in love. They were excited and planning a nice wedding, when all of a sudden, a Big Government drone steps in and through their own "expertise" decides they are not fit to be parents because the girl is a little "slow."
Under those guidelines, if adopted in America, would Barack Obama be allowed to keep his kids? I mean this is the guy that thought he had traveled to 57 states on the campaign, and had 1 or 2 to go. Would that make Obama a little "slow" in the eyes of the almighty bureaucrat?
Can you imagine?
My point? Allowing the government control over anything can be dangerous, even for the most noble of reasons. It’s why our founders wrote a Constitution that was design to allow the several states and all citizens, great freedoms, while restraining the federal government. In the past 100 years we have seen a rapid shift to the exact opposite, as "progressives" both democrat/communists and Republicans have grabbed more control, and wrestled many freedoms from the several states, and the American citizen.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
All of these new "recommendations" that are suddenly coming down from these faceless panels are the canary in the coal mine for what is to come if we allow Obama and his radical communist agenda to succeed., if we allow ObamaCare to become law.
This is can all be stopped, but you must be willing to put every single ounce of effort you can muster to achieve that goal. We are at war in this nation. Oh, it’s not a shooting war, but it is a war nonetheless. We are war with radical communists who want to "fundamentally change" America into something it was never meant to be.
It’s a failed prescription. Communism, socialism, Statism, whatever "ism" you want to call this evil, has destroyed nations world wide every time it has been tried. Just because this group of radicals think they are the ones smart enough to make it work doesn’t make it so!
The surest way to lose most, if not all, of your most fundamental freedoms and rights is to allow the Obama regime to continue along this path of certain destruction.
As I write this on an early Friday afternoon, I realize the U.S. Senate is about to vote on a 2000 plus page piece of liberty destroying garbage that absolutely no one has read, or understands.
This multi-trillion dollar affair will raise taxes, destroy our quality of health care, and give the government powers that will, for all practical purposes, void our Constitution, completely usurp it.
Speaking of the Constitution, it only took four sheets of paper to write the most significant and enduring political document in the history all mankind. Our Constitution is the envy of the world, and the absolute blueprint for the freedom of all mankind. Four sheets of paper.
By contrast, the lunacy that is our current radical communist controlled Congress, has produced bills in the House and Senate of a combined total of nearly 4100 pages. Incredible.
Here’s a good time to remind everyone the words of the Great Ronald Reagan on the dangers of allowing these radicals to take over our lives through health care. This is from the successful Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against socialized medicine in 1961:
Isn’t it time that all of America listens to one of our greatest leaders in history?
You can read more about the horrors in Canada and the United Kingdom here and here.