Tag Archives: mortality

Cancer Treatment and Health Care Reform

Blogged by: BarbaraOBrien1

One argument you may hear against health care reform concerns cancer survival rates. The United States has higher cancer survivor rates than countries with national health care systems, we’re told. Doesn’t this mean we should keep what we’ve got and not change it?

Certainly cancer survival rates are a critical issue for people suffering from the deadly lung mesothelioma cancer. So let’s look at this claim and see if there is any substance to it.

First, it’s important to understand that “cancer survival rate” doesn’t mean the rate of people who are cured of a cancer. The cancer survival rate is the percentage of people who survive a certain type of cancer for a specific amount of time, usually five years after diagnosis.

For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, the survivor rate of prostate cancer in the United States is 98 percent. This means that 98 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive five years later. However, this statistic does not tell us whether the men who have survived for five years still have cancer or what number of them may die from it eventually.

Misunderstanding of the term “survivor rate” sometimes is exploited to make misleading claims. For example, in 2007 a pharmaceutical company promoting a drug used to treat colon cancer released statistics showing superior survival rates for its drug over other treatments. Some journalists who used this data in their reporting assumed it meant that the people who survived were cured of cancer, and they wrote that the drug “saved lives.” The drug did extend the lives of of patients, on average by a few months. However, the mortality rate for people who used this drug — meaning the rate of patients who died of the disease — was not improved.

But bloggers and editorial writers who oppose health care reform seized these stories about “saving lives,” noting that this wondrous drug was available in the United States for at least a year before it was in use in Great Britain. Further, Britain has lower cancer survival rates than the U.S. This proved, they said, the superiority of U.S. health care over “socialist” countries.

This is one way propagandists use data to argue that health care in the United States is superior to countries with government-funded health care systems. They selectively compare the most favorable data from the United States with data from the nations least successful at treating cancer. A favorite “comparison” country is Great Britain, whose underfunded National Health Service is struggling.

It is true that the United States compares very well in the area of cancer survival rates, but other countries with national health care systems have similar results.

For example, in 2008 the British medical journal Lancet Oncology published a widely hailed study comparing cancer survival rates in 31 countries. Called the CONCORD study, the researchers found that United States has the highest survival rates for breast and prostate cancer. However, Japan has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in men, and France has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in women. Canada and Australia also ranked relatively high for most cancers. The differences in the survival data for these “best” countries is very small, and is possibly caused by discrepancies in reporting of data and not the treatment result itself.

And it should be noted that Japan, France, Canada and Australia all have government-funded national health care systems. So, there is no reason to assume that changing the way health care is funded in the U.S. would reduce the quality of cancer care.

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Filed under Austrailia, Cancer, Culture, England, France, Health, Health Care Reform, Japan, Medicine, Mesothelioma, News, Opinions, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, World

The History Channel: Death Masks

Posted by Audiegrl

New York circa 1908. Making a plaster death mask

New York circa 1908. Making a plaster death mask

The making of a death mask is a messy business – literally. They are difficult to make and the best position for the corpse is not lying down but sat up (as you can see in the picture). The shift from sculpture to masks came about in the Middle Ages when the art of waxwork and plaster casting became more sophisticated. The tradition evolved from royalty to eminent people and continues to this day.

abraham-lincoln-life-mask-2By using these masks, forensic-science and anthropology experts will delve into the real person behind the famous faces.

Every facial line, wrinkle and expression tells a story.

According to the “History Channel’s” website, using high-tech facial-reconstruction techniques and 3D imprint will render an exact replica of features. This will produce an intimate look at how their characteristics affected their lives.

deathmask2The show will attempt to solve some of the persistent mysteries surrounding historic figures such as; Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon and George Washington.

Faces…and facts…fleshed out from the grave. Unprecedented technology brings to life extraordinary mirror images and powerful last impressions of history’s most powerful men. Every line, every wrinkle, every expression tells a story. Forensic-science and anthropology experts have identified that history’s most relevant figures left behind highly-detailed casts of their faces, created at their moment of death, to preserve their souls and physical memory for eternity.

George Washington life mask, from the original Houdon statue, 1785

George Washington life mask, from the original Houdon statue, 1785

Using advanced facial-reconstruction techniques and 3-D imprint detailing, these death masks render an exact replica of every feature, and an intimate look at how their characteristics affected their lives. Includes startling new insights into the persistent mysteries surrounding these historic icons like Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon and George Washington, and just may reveal some secrets these men preferred to conceal.

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More @ historychannellogo

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More Information on Life or Death Masks

Undying Faces® Death Masks – Life Masks

Curiouse Expeditions, Death Masks – Kegyeleti Museum, Hungary

Death Mask Tuesdays

Laurence Hutton Collection of Death Masks

Wikipedia “Death Mask” Entry

AbbeyCarr Blog: President Lincoln

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Filed under Art, Culture, History, Media and Entertainment, TV Shows, Uncategorized