MAG and CRC

A busy day dealing with a number of different issues. This morning I attended a briefing meeting with the senior management team from Manchester Airport Group (MAG) where we discussed a number of issues but principally matters arising out of the latest security alert at East Midlands airport last weekend. For those who may not be away East Midlands airport is part of the same group as Manchester airport.

I was in the Chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions and then during my lunch period I attended the Communion Service at St. Mary’s Undercroft in Westminster Hall. My next engagement was to meet a constituent in connection with the work of the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC). THe main thrust of the message was that if we are to improve cancer survival rates we must improve on early diagnosis.

15 thoughts on “MAG and CRC

  1. If early detection is the most important part of the fight against cancer, would not the 200 million fund created to fund very expensive drugs with marginal benefits be better spent there instead?

    • I suspect those cancer patients who benefit from these drugs would not agree. Spending on cancer obviously has to cover all aspects of the disease from research to diagnosis to treatment.

      • They may well not, but unless you are willing to give a blank cheque to spending in the NHS, available funds should go to where they will give the greatest benefit. Surely spending 200 million to give 1000s of people a normal lifespan, is better than giving a few 100 a chance of an extra few months in the terminal phase of their disease.

        I am very surprised that the conservative pre-election promise to fund all Cancer drugs was not quietly buried by the coalition agreement. It seemed to me such a blatant bit of craven pandering to tabloid headlines. It also goes against the broader conservative policy theme of letting professionals not politicians make decisions about priorities.

  2. Ewan is absolutley right. One would expect better stewardship and more effective use of hard earned tax payers money from the Tories. This requires a rational evidence based approach that seems sadly lacking – and will be compounded by the decision to change to role of NICE – an organisation that his won world wide acclaim for its work on drug effectiveness and value for money.

    It is a sad day for the proper management of our health services when such a professional approach is replaced by one that allows more scope for political expediancy and profiteering by big business.

  3. As the constituent who met with Mr Nuttall, I would just like to thank him publicly for taking the time to see me on what was an extremely busy parliamentary day. I am also grateful that he thought the subject important enough to record the meeting on his blog.
    I met with Mr Nuttall to urge him to continue his support for the “Commit to Beat Cancer” campaign currently being run by Cancer Research UK.
    In the interests of brevity, can I suggest that anyone interested in what we were asking visit the website http://www.cancercampaigns.org.uk
    As well as finding the campaign details, if you type “NICE” (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) into the search box in the site. You will find the Cancer Research UK position on Drugs.
    In reply to Ewan Arthur. Can I also suggest you get hold of a Copy of The “Cost of Cancer” a research document produced by the policyexchange.org.uk I must point out that this is not a Cancer Research UK Document . However it makes very interesting reading for those who quite legitimately, look for value for money in cancer care.
    Once again Mr Nuttall, Thank you for your continued support.

    David Collins
    Greenmount
    Bury.
    Cancer Campaigns Ambassador
    Cancer Research UK

  4. I see one of the Cancer Campaigns successful campaigns was to stop smoking in the workplace. The website says that 600 lives have been saved. No doubt some of those were people who worked in what was perhaps the smokiest of all workplaces – e pub.

    I can’t, even if I try hard, rationalise this with David Nuttall’s motives in promoting in Parliament a motion that would have allowed smoking in pubs again.

    Politics is a strange world !

    • They’re not your figures, fair enough, but anyone who actually believes these numbers really ought to question how they were arrived at and exactly how reliable they are.

      It’s also perfectly reasonable to assume that while someone can support an organization in general, they may also disagree with individual aspects of their policy. Personally, I would suggest that finding a cure for cancer and also treating those diagnosed with cancer to the best care available are entirely laudable aims, whereas swallowing the whole secondhand smoke fraud when the evidence is so utterly flawed smacks of idiocy, to say the least..

      • Your reply to Jimm raises a number of points.

        The “600 lives” number is to be found on the Cancer Research UK website. Should anyone wish to question how the number was arrived at, the full article including links to the original research is available here. http://www.cancercampaigns.org.uk/ourcampaigns/smokefree/

        I have read the research presented by Cancer Research UK and the counter arguments put forward by Groups such as “Forest”. I am persuaded by the Cancer Research UK case.
        I find the “evidence” against raised by “Forest” and other similar groups to be mainly selective quotes taken from various sources. Can anyone take seriously any organisation that relies on a comment made on Desert Island Discs in 2001 as it’s first example of evidence? http://www.forestonline.org/output/Passive-Smoking.aspx

        Where research is mentioned by these groups, it appears to me to accept that Second Hand smoke is harmful. The main argument they highlight is “how harmful?’ The phrase “Not statistically significant” appears regularly. While I appreciate that academics will use the phrase when referring to statistics. I find it an unfortunate way of describing statistics that refer to individual deaths.

        You are absolutely correct, and I agree entirely, that someone can support an organization in general, while disagreeing with individual aspects of policy. It’s a very reasonable observation. I was therefore surprised that you used the term “idiocy” in describing someone who may hold a view contrary to your own. As someone who holds a contrary view to yours, I find the term a little offensive.

        If there is some definitive, unimpeachable, can’t be ignored research out there and you could point me in the direction of it, I would be very much obliged. I would be more than happy to read it and reconsider my opinion.

        PLEASE NOTE: These comments reflect my own personal views. They are not given on behalf of any organisation I may have links with.
        David Collins.

      • David, you’re looking in the wrong places. With regard to lung cancer, passive smoking is a red herring.

        You asked for “definitive, unimpeachable, can’t be ignored research”? Well, how about all of it? 9 positive out of 64 studies (12 were negative, 36 ‘null’).

        http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/pdfs/passivesmokinglungcancer.pdf

        And the latest study, conducted in Canada this year, was another to say no effect whatsoever.

        http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2010/11/suffer-bar-workers-not.html

        You’ve been sold a pup. No-one has ever died from cancer caused by passive smoke.

        Try looking for the real cause instead of demonising a pleasurable habit with which you personally disagree. The state and pharma-funded promotion of smoking cessation products, utilising passive smoking as a scare tactic, is diverting funds from finding out what is really killing people.

        How many people are needlessly dying while rent-seekers keep themselves in jobs perpetuating a false risk?

  5. Finding a cure and treating cancer are important – very much so. But stopping people getting it is the best solution. And that means changing habits that people have. And protecting them from others.

    A friend died of lung cancer and never smoked a cigarette in her life. Her husband smoked his pipe regularly in her company, is still alive and feels guilty. An anecdote and not a statistic. But it makes sense to me.

    • Jimm,

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend, but there are twon important things to bear in mind; firstly, smoking is not the sole cause of cancer and, secondly, the logical inference from your anecdote is that smoking is not harmful to the smoker, only to those around them. And I doubt that that is what you are suggesting, is it?

      Just because the poor chap feels guilty, it does not make him so – that’s the result of hectoring by ASH and their ilk.

      Of equal value is my anecdotal evidence that my grandmother has never been a smoker and is still very much alive, despite my grandfather’s ‘habit’.

      I do hope that that also makes sense.

  6. David Collins,

    According to the CRUK link you provided, you appear to be referring to research by Konrad Jamrozik which is rebutted by Christopher Snowdon at his site:

    http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/index.php?page_id=47

    Apologies for not embedding the link but I tend to make rather a hash of it.

    There’s plenty on his site to read and there is a link from there to his blog, which I recommend as being a worthwhile read.

    I noticed that the CRUK page provided a number of links to ASH (although none of the pages are there any longer), an organization which can hardly be described as impartial and, by most people’s standards, would hardly be counted as a charity (if one bears in mind how little money they receive in actual voluntary donations). I wouldn’t expect you to place much faith in anything Imperial Tobacco have to say on the subject, so why should I trust an organization which accepts money from Pfizer, who manufacture smoking cessation products?

    Your comments about FOREST are somewhat disingenuous as surely it’s the source of the quote, in this case Professor Sir Richard Doll, and not the platform from which speak which is of importance? Or would you suggest that someone using the term n***** is not a racist if they’re ‘only’ saying it in the pub?

    It’s worth noting that FOREST also mention the WHO report, or do you immediately ignore the WHO because FOREST are referencing them?

    Statistical signnificance is rather important as it relates to the accuracy of the evidence being discussed, which one really ought to take into account when evaluating the data. Try this link (selected fairly arbitrarily):

    http://www.davehitt.com/facts/who.html

    “If there is some definitive, unimpeachable, can’t be ignored research out there and you could point me in the direction of it, I would be very much obliged. I would be more than happy to read it and reconsider my opinion.”

    You seem to have that the wrong way around – the emphasis is on the person making the assertion to prove it. In this case, that would be you. As for me attempting to prove a negative, that could be tricky. Let me just disprove the existence of God and then I’ll give it a try..

    You might be able to access this report for free through work though:

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w14790

    It appears to disagree with smoking bans saving those 600 lives.

    My apologies for any offence in my previous comment, as everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I find the repitition of the anti-smoking mantra rather tiresome. Please prove to me conclusively that ETS kills.

    Oh, and I want independent proof i.e. not funded by pharmaceutical companies or vested interest groups – if rules about big tobacco funding research are good enough for one side, they ought to be good enough for all.

    Oh, and I have no ties to any tobacco companies, not even a few shares. But if BAT are offering..

  7. @David Collins

    On second hand smoke (SHS) and lung cancer (LC) here is your research project for the day.

    Could you speak or look up the aetiology (causation) of LC in smokers and non smokers. The key words are:

    Epidermal growth factor receptor
    Guanine to thyamine transversions
    GPC5
    Adenocarcinoma
    P53 gene

    Also the relative risk for smoking and cervical cancer (CC) 2.7 CI (I think) is 1.5 to 3.7 is smoking a cause of CC David?

    I will be back when I have more time to answer your questions but here is a clue

    “The fact that the mutation spectrum of the p53 tumor suppressor gene in lung tumors of ETS-exposed nonsmokers generally differs from that found in tumors of active smokers lends additional support to the notion that the majority of tumors found in ETS-exposed nonsmokers have nothing to do with tobacco smoke.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11726024

  8. @Jimm

    Did you know that pipe smokers live on average 2 years longer than non smokers? It was first identified in the American 1964 Surgeon General’s report. The cause of this is not smoking a pipe, the correlation is that pipe smokers tend be intelligent, many are academics and intelligent people live longer than others.

    For the record cigar smokers have no increased mortality, lung cancer or heart disease as they do not generally inhale.

    However cigarette smoking is bad for you if you smoke more than 3 cigarettes per day. If you go to an actuary at the age of 20 a cigarette smoker they will assume you will live 7 years less than a non smoker. 86% of lung cancer cases are smokers, and 90% of emphysema too.

    http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/B/M/Q/

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