We have tried to make the original 2008 "lies, damn lies and statistics" post a bit more user-friendly. Our post also explains the quote from the PAC2 Report on the September 2010 Pediatric Cancer Caucus from the Head, Division of Pediatrics, Children's Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman who was quoted as saying:
Here's what she means....
We have all been lead to believe that childhood cancer is "rare". And, I guess, when you look at the number of cases, it is. But, is the number of cases the only number we should be looking at when comparing it to other cancers? We don't think it is. We think we should also look at the total number of years of life lost (Person Years Life Lost or PYLL) for each cancer. And then compare funding based on the number of years of life lost for each cancer. Basically, a method to "level the playing field" and compare apples to apples.
So there are two questions:
#1 - How many years of potential life are stolen by each cancer?
#2 - Are the funding dollars per life years lost fair and equitable?
For example, the average age for a new case of prostate cancer is 68 years old, and the 5 year survival rate is 99%. That means that 1% of those new cases will die within 5 years, at or before age 73. The average age of death from all causes in the US is 77. So, on average, each case of prostate cancer results in a loss of 4 PYLL.
So then we calculate the total number of years of PYLL for prostate cancer. In 2007 there were 186,320 new cases. The latest 5 year survival is 99%. So, of those new cases, there will be 1,863 deaths from prostate cancer within 5 years. As we said above, each case represents 4 years of life lost. So, 1,863 deaths x 4 years of life lost = 7,453 total PYLL.
Then we look at funding. Prostate cancer received $15 million in 2007 from the American Cancer Society. So, $15 million divided by 7,453 years of life lost = $2,013 per year of life lost.
Is that good or bad? Well, you have to do the calculations for each cancer and compare the answers.
First, lets look at the PYLL for the 10 most prevalent adult cancers, and include childhood cancer.
Childhood cancer results in the fifth highest number of life-years lost to any type of cancer. This FACT alone should eliminate any discussion of the "rareness" of cancer in children. A total of 178,750 potential life-years are lost to childhood cancer.
These are life's that NEVER get a chance to VOTE or ADVOCATE for more funding! Life's that NEVER get to DEMONSTRATE and PROTEST in front of the White House on September 13th......you in?!
Surprise, surprise, it's NOT! And guess who's at the bottom of the list? So, after "leveling the playing field" we can see that funding is simply NOT fair and equitable for all types of cancer! And childhood cancers get the lowest amount of funding per year of life lost when compared to the 10 most prevalent adult cancers. Guess who votes? Guess who advocates?
So, don't ever be swayed by the "rareness" of childhood cancer argument. And don't ever let them tell you the funding is appropriate based on the number of cases. Those are the lies they want us to believe.
I mean if you compare the number of rifle and machine gun bullets expended in World War II, the number of atomic bombs dropped was "rare". But the effect was just the same.....
Here's what the whole thing looks like graphically; a lot of green ($$) is good; red (years lost) is bad.
Here is a similar chart developed based on the 2009 funding levels for the National Cancer Institute.
All data is directly from the following sources:
If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny. ~~ Thomas Jefferson