Mortality Statistics: Do Facts Matter (2nd Attempt)

A couple of years ago, I did some investigating about the trend in cancer, and particularly lung cancer, deaths in England and Wales. I extracted figures from 2000, 2006 and 2011 and compared the totals. Here is the result from that post:

Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.

2000……535,000……………..134,700…………..29,500.

2006……502,000……………..139,000…………..29,300.

2011…….484,000………………143,300…………..30,150.

NB. The ‘Lung Cancers’ in the right hand column are deaths specifically in ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’ and do not include more specific sites, but are by far the most likely sites.

You can see immediately a few facts:

In those specific years, total deaths declined in number each year. (I have not cherry-picked those years. 2000 is turn of century, 2011 was latest available figures, and 2006 is a mid-point) However, in those years, cancer deaths as a whole increased. LC deaths remained fairly steady, although it is clear at a glance that LC deaths were increasing as a proportion of all deaths.

Before we go any further, I have to say that these stats are very simplistic. But they are not designed to be otherwise. They are intended merely to indicate general trends without drawing any special conclusion. They merely pose some questions.

A couple of days ago, I decided to update the above table. There is a significant delay in the publication of national statistics, so that, for example, 2014 stats will not be published until October 2015. But I was able to get 2013 stats. I can thus update the above table as follows:

Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.

2000……535,000……………..134,700…………..29,500.

2006……502,000……………..139,000…………..29,300.

2011…….484,000………………143,300…………..30,150.

2013….507,000………….145,300………..30,400.

Again, we see cancer deaths (including LCs) creeping upwards, but to get a clearer picture, it is better to use percentages (proportions).

Using the above figures, we can extract these proportions:

Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.

2000…….100%…………………25.18%……………..5.51%.

2006…….100%…………………27.69%…………….5.84%.

2011……..100%…………………29.60%…………….6.22%.

2013…..100%……………..28.66%………..6.00%.

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We all know that smoking has been blamed for not only lung cancers but also other cancers, and a myriad of other diseases. Again, in terms of very general trends, let us look at smoking prevalence:

smokingrate-uk

Males are the red line and females are the blue. The first graph is 35 – 59 and the second is 60+, but the difference hardly matters. What is important is the general trend in all age groups and both sexes for a reduction in smoking prevalence since 1970. The graphs end at 2000, but that hardly matters since we know that the downward trend continued.

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What is important is that I think that we all know that Doll et al ‘Doctors Study’ predicted that there was a delay of about 30 years before smoking began to cause deaths. Once again, I shall my version of Doll’s graph:

img002

Among the doctors in the study, the average age for smoking commencement was nineteen and a half – let’s call it 20. Note that, in the graph, almost nothing happened before the age of 40 (20 years later). At that point, there is almost nothing to observe which could not be explained for any number of reasons. Only around the age of 50 does any noticeable difference start to emerge, but even then, smoker deaths are only about 8% as compared with non-smoker deaths of around 2%. In other words, at that age, 92% of smokers were alive and 98% of non-smokers were alive. Thus, even at the age of 50, 30 years after starting smoking, not a lot of even the heaviest smoking doctors had pegged out. At the age of 60, the difference is getting greater. At that age, some 20% of the heaviest smokers had gone, as compared with some 8% of non-smokers. Reversing the argument – 80% of the heaviest smokers were still alive and 92% of non-smokers were still alive.

What I am saying is that the ‘delay factor’, for the majority of the smoking doctors, was actually far greater than 30 years.

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However, here is the important thing. According the the prevalence graph for up to 59 year-olds, smoking dropped from 70% to 50% between 1970 and 1980. Thus, 20 to 34 years later (2000 to 2013), you should expect a reduction in LC deaths as a consequence of the negative ‘delayed effect’ (reduced smoking prevalence should mean a reduced prevalence of LC deaths 30, 40, 50 years later).

As we have seen above, no such reduction is observed.

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But, again, I must emphasise that the above is hardly ‘scholarly’. On the other hand, Doll et al’s ‘Doctors Study’ is also hardly ‘scholarly’. Both are just ‘counting’. We have just had a solar eclipse. The reason that we knew when and where it would occur was the result of counting. Clearly, such counting is extremely clever. I would never be able to do it. But such counting is not even remotely as valuable as Faraday’s experiments with electricity and magnetism. Even today, no one really fully understands it.

The Zealots have tried to reduce the incidence of ‘smoking related diseases’ to counting. They have tried to equate ‘smoking related diseases’ to a type of astronomy, like solar eclipses, while avoiding the “Faraday” test – cause and effect.

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I have been toying with the idea of investigating a more delicate breakdown of the statistics. For example, male and female smoking prevalence was different, and the LC figures were different. Yes, it would be interesting to compare the two sets of figures. But it involves a lot of work, and I am not sure that the effort is worth it in view of the overwhelming NOISE from Tobacco Control propaganda. I think that it may be that the only response in reality will have to be physical. That is, smuggling. I mean ‘proper’ smuggling and not the ‘crack down’ on legitimate small businesses importing a few kilograms of tobacco leaf legitimately and above board in accordance with EU trade agreements concerning ‘agricultural produce’.

I don’t understand.

It would be quite easy for Cameron et al to differentiate between what is important (such as the NHS) and what is not important (such as smoking on hospital grounds). No politician dares to attack the Zealots, even though that is precisely what we elect them to do.

I SHALL vote in the General Election. I SHALL vote for UKIP. Just as the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are shadows of their former selves, so are the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Parties. As far as membership is concerned, they are fading to nothing. Thus, it is obvious that only special interest groups are keeping them alive.

Cameron may be Prime Minister, but who decided that he should be a candidate in the first place? Who promoted him? Who created the ‘stage’ whereupon he delivered his word-perfect, learned-line-by-line speech at the infamous Tory Conference?

The stink of corruption gets more noticeable every day, day after day.

 

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3 Responses to “Mortality Statistics: Do Facts Matter (2nd Attempt)”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    Funny thing about how long it takes for lung cancer to kick-in, it does seem to take much more than 20 or 30 years..

    SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Lung and Bronchus

    US Mortality
    From 2003-2007, the median age at death for cancer of the lung and bronchus was 72 years of

    Approximately 0.0% died under age 20;
    0.1% between 20 and 34
    1.4% between 35 and 44;
    7.9% between 45 and 54;
    19.7% between 55 and 64;
    30.6% between 65 and 74;
    30.7% between 75 and 84;
    and 9.6% 85+ years of age.

    The cheeeeldren have no need to worry.

    If an 15 year old starts smoking and is going to die from lung cancer, there is a 50% probability that death will not occur for at least 57 years.

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