More About the Mortality Statistics re Yesterday’s Post

A short post tonight. I have been entertaining myself. One of the blogs which I read provided a link to a Utube video which was funny. That link provided several more links on different subjects, all jolly amusing.

A little light relief from the never-ending plague of puritanical nagging. But I did get something positive from theses viewings. Almost all of the funnies involved young people, and there was no sign of misery. Frankly, most of them were pretty laid back. This confirms my impressions of OUR youth gained from years of going to Mallorca and watching the antics of the young guys and girls there. There is nothing wrong with them. They enjoy themselves, drink, smoke, laugh, dance, with very, very little trouble or significant drunkenness.

So, tonight, I have little time for much musing.

But I did find time to look back in my saved documents and found some statistics from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) which I had saved. they related to mortality statistics from 1980 and 1990.

Persons reading this ought really to read my last post called ‘Mortality statistics: Do facts matter (second attempt)’, but, as a reminder, here is the table that I published:

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.

You can see at a glance that total deaths fell in each subsequent year in the table, apart form 2013. You can also see that deaths from all cancers rose and deaths from lung cancers (almost all trachea, bronchus and lung) rose slowly but steadily.

Better, however, to look at the percentages (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%.

The ‘cancers’ column is the percentage of total deaths which were from cancer, and the ‘lung cancers’ column is the percentage of total deaths which were specifically from lung cancer (almost all ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’).

The period involved is fourteen years, which is a substantial period of time. Smoking prevalence fell substantially from 1970 onwards. After 30 years, the result of this collapse in smoking in England and Wales, ought to have been a reduction in the incidence of lung cancers. But it is clear that it has not happened.

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Here is the interesting thing. I can add to those tables the figures from 1980 and 1990:

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

1980…….581,400……….130,500……….33,200.

1990…….564,800……….144,600………33,200.

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, it is more instructive to use the percentages:

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

1980……100%…………….22.45%…………5.71%.

1990……100%…………….25.60%…………5.88%.

2000…….100%…………………25.18%……………..5.51%.

2006…….100%…………………27.69%…………….5.84%.

2011……..100%…………………29.60%…………….6.22%.

2013……..100%…………………28.66%……………6.00%.

So now we see a period of 34 years. During that period of time, smoking prevalence has fallen steadily from about 70% in males and 50% in females to some 20% in males and some 15% in females. And yet, over that long period of time, no diminution of lung cancer deaths, as a proportion of total deaths, has occurred.

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There is a very big contradiction exposed here (even if simplistically). The Doll ‘Doctors Study’ made an extraordinary claim, which was that heavy smokers were around fifteen times more likely to die from LC than non-smokers. That is a massive, massive difference. If the effect of smoking is so absolutely awful, then at least some diminution of LC should have occurred. It certainly ought not to have increased, no matter how slight the increase might be.

—-

There is a stench. the stench could be that the Doctors Study was manipulated, along with other similar studies conducted around the same time by the prohibitionists and eugenicists whose activities were interrupted by WW2, and who subsequently morphed into ‘sustainability’ (including population control). That could be true. But what I think is more likely is that smoking, especially in wartime conditions and heavily polluted atmospheric conditions, took the blame. Since the smoking ban, many pubs have closed. As a smoker, I blame the smoking ban, but I was already aware, before the ban, that my local was not doing the business that it used to. The smoking ban tipped many pubs over the edge of insolvency. Smoking might be similar, in the sense of being ‘the last straw’. That might be the case if a person’s lungs had been badly damaged by sulphuric acid in the air and smoking raised the risk beyond what the body could cope with. That is a common phenomenon and arises all the time. Flood defences, for example, are built to withstand invasion of water to a certain extent. When the invasion is greater, the defences cannot cope, and often collapse.

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We do not have the resources to conduct detailed epidemiological studies to explain the continuing prevalence of LC taking into consideration the huge fall in smoking prevalence. Tobacco Companies have. Regardless of the demonisation, those companies should instigate studies into the phenomenon of the lack of diminution of LC. If the BMJ editor refuses to publish the results of a genuine study, then all hell should result in the scientific community. But do not hold your breath.

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And so to bed.

 

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10 Responses to “More About the Mortality Statistics re Yesterday’s Post”

  1. Frank J Says:

    ” Smoking might be similar, in the sense of being ‘the last straw’.”

    We’ll never know, even if common sense states the probability. We’ll never know because Doll did not take any of this into account. His aim was to condemn smoking and only that. Doll was criticised by Sir Ronald fisher – foremost Oxford statistician – at the time who stated the best that could be said for it was that more work was needed, one hell of a diplomatic condemnation!

    Why did Doll not go further? probably for the same reason as McTear not providing Doll’s ‘evidence’ in his case, fear of being shot through in public and setting his and the anti’s position back by decades if not destroying it completely.

    I’ve said before and I’ll repeat. it was bollocks then and is bollocks now.

    Like yourself, I’m disappointed the companies have chosen not to act as I feel in a Court setting they have a hell of a case and I’m hoping that any action over PP will have to involve the ‘health’ debate.

    • junican Says:

      One of the things that bothered me as I read the Doctors Study reports was that everything seemed just too perfect. There was an element of triumphalism about it. Around the same time as the Doctors Study started, 1950, a couple of other big studies were conducted which were nicely timed for the Surgeon General’s report in 1964.
      All just too convenient.

  2. garyk30 Says:

    Comparing death stats is complicated by the change in survival rates over the years.
    Not too many years ago, being diagnosed with LC was a death sentance.
    These days, about 20% survive for quite a while.

    The growth in the ‘incidence’ rate is quite remarkable.

    Over the last 60 years, as the adult smoking rates have declined by about 50%, the lung cancer incidence rate has increased by 640%.

    Mortality Trends for Selected Smoking-Related Cancers and Breast Cancer — United States, 1950-1990
    TABLE 1. Age-adjusted death rates * for selected smoking-related cancers, by sex and
    race + — United States, selected years, 1950-1990(per 100,000)
    Total – Lung

    1950 = 13/100,000 (Incidence Rate = 13/100,000)

    http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lungb.html
    It is estimated that 222,520 men and women (116,750 men and 105,770 women) will be diagnosed with and 157,300 men and women will die of cancer of the lung and bronchus in 2010.

    2010 = 68.4/100,000
    (Incidence Rate = 96.7/100,000)

    • junican Says:

      There are all sorts of problems with delving into mid 20th century figures for LC deaths. Misdiagnosis was common. Like some sort of medieval superstition, cancer was seen as a devil, perhaps because of the finality of such a diagnosis. The Big C was not mentioned in polite company. I wonder how many deaths by LC were described as pneumonia to spare the relatives, especially in non-smoking deaths?
      Further, I don’t really see the relevance of number of cases of LC as a proportion of the whole population, which is why I did not mention that aspect. There are two things which make such comparisons difficult: a) increases in population tend to produce more young people, and, b) as you mentioned, better treatments can distort the figures by postponing deaths.

  3. richard john Says:

    hit on the nail once again withen 15 years a cure for cancer will be found and more products will be found that contain carcigeons with higher levels off human rust eg cancer than tobbacoe my final message grow more tobbaco

    • junican Says:

      I read recently that oncologist do not like to use the word ‘cure’ in relation to cancer. I quite like your descriptive use of the word ‘rust’!

  4. prog Says:

    So, in a nutshell, people are more likely to die from cancer now than 35 years ago because they’re living longer, and millions have quit smoking (nor started) during that period. Not the best advert for the Public Health agenda.

    Or, has my logic fuse blown (again…).

    • junican Says:

      Well, Yes. It has been said again and again that cancer is a disease of old age predominantly, so you can expect more cancer deaths. But to be logical, a greater proportion of cancer deaths must mean a lower proportion of other causes. The total must add up to 100%. What other causes might be falling in incidence? There could be any number of variables.

  5. thingy Says:

    I took your LC death figures and applied them to
    UK population figures from the World Bank
    and found this:

    Year…….UK pop………..LC death as % of pop

    1980……56.3142M………..0.05895%

    1990……57.2476M………..0.05799%

    2000…….58.8925M………..0.05009%

    2006…….60.8468M………..0.04815%

    2011……..63.2589M………..0.04766%

    2013……..64.0971M………..0.04743%

    There is a steady decline in LC death per head.
    Most notably 1990-2000, which is approximately
    30 years after the invention of Silk Cut 🙂

    • junican Says:

      I understand what you mean, and I think that it is an easy mistake to make. The reason is that people who are alive and well do not count. We are not talking about such people. We are talking about people who have died, and what caused their deaths.
      I like your calculations! It is not often that we go to five significant figures!

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