Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Righteous Won't Like This

This is the chest X-ray of a person with bronchial cancer. According to Cancer Research 86% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. One in three people develop cancer during their lives.

graph from cancer research

Note the number of breast and prostate cancers yet it's commonly thought that smokers, as Cancer Research publicise, are by far the largest group of lung cancer patients (where is the evidence?); thus putting excessive pressure on the NHS, not least through cost.

I'm sure those who think that smokers are the new lepers in society won't have been pleased with the front page of this week's Sunday Times. The newspaper has been passed on to me as I wouldn't give the Murdoch empire the time of day far less a penny.

As I can't provide a link I will type the article in full. It won't be good news for the anti-smoking Righteous who have the intense desire for smokers to be burnt at the stake but, at the same time, take their children to school in vehicles which have emissions which can cause serious bronchial problems in children. The same anti-smokers possibly use chemical sprays in their home which cause far worse problems that the occasional puff of smoke from someone smoking outside their home. After all, most smokers now smoke outside. I do. Not because I feel my smoking is a danger to anyone who visits me, but I am aware the smell of stale tobacco is unpleasant and also I've no wish to keep painting my home. We all know nicotine stains. So does bleach, Brasso, various kitchen and bathrooms cleaners, various car cleaners, yet smokers are the equivalent of the 'great unwashed'.

Here is the article:

New drug 'blocks' lung cancer

Smokers could be protected from lung cancer by taking a drug commonly used by diabetics, according to new scientific research.

The drug, metformin, appears to block the development of tumours. If proven, it would be the first drug capable of halting a smoking-related cancer before it takes hold, rather than treating it afterwards.

In theory, smokers could take it to cut their cancer risk - although it would not prevent smoking's many other health impacts.

Metformin's ability to block lung tuours has so far only been shown in animals and will have to be confirmed in humans. However, scientists say there is good evidence to suggest it could work.

In particular, there are already indications that smokers who take metformin for diabetes have a lower incidence of cancers.

"This wee-tolerated diabetes drug was able to prevent tobacco-carcinogen induced lung tumours," said Phillip Dennis, senior investigator in the medical oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute in America, at a recent conference.

His research will be formally published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research this week.

In Britain, which has 9.5m smokers, cigarettes are estimated to kill about 114,000 a year. About 43,000 of these die from smoking related cancers of which 25,000 are lung cancers.

In the research, Dennis treated mice with metformin for 13 weeks following exposure to the cancer causing agents found in tobacco smoke. They found the number of tumours in mice that had been given metformin by mouth fell by up to 50% and by injection 72%.

Such findings do not imply that smokers can escape ill health simply by taking a drug. Smoking also causes illnesses such as emphysema and cardiovascular problems. Metformin would not prevent these.

The Righteous will be so upset that money is being spent on research which has any connection to smoking. They never mention liver and kidney cancer of course because they're not yet on the agenda - that's for later when anyone who imbibes in a glass of two of anything alcoholic will become the new smokers. That, of course, will happen once all smokers have died from their habit.

How dare researchers spend good money on lung cancer tumours when most are self-inflicted? I can hear the indignation way up here in the north.


Conan the Librarian™ said...

Rosa, that looks like somebody with a small revolover in their waistcoat to me...

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Or even a revolver.

subrosa said...

It does too Conan now I see it from your angle. It came from the Cancer Research site. Does that mean something?

Hamish said...

"Note the number of breast and prostate cancers yet it's commonly thought that smokers, as Cancer Research publicise, are by far the largest group of lung cancer patients".
In what way does the graph disprove what Cancer Research state?

subrosa said...

The graph doesn't say that does it Hamish, but Cancer Research does on its website.

What surprises me is that they don't record the number of smokers who are treated for the other cancers, only lung cancers, yet lung cancer suffers are certainly not all smokers.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Cancer Research UK have a rather sorry record of rigour when it comes to 'rithmetic. IIRC their scientific methodology has taken some rather nasty knocks over the years too. They've more PR persons than cancer specialists.

If you're minded to dig - there's gold. It's a quango not a charity. Well done Rosie.

As a drunken, weeping, sun tanned Tiny Blur said to me just the other day, through the sobs... "Freedom of Information, disclosure... it just isn't right..." sniffle, dab

subrosa said...

Indeed Gordon, it's a quango with its own agenda. We can all fiddle the figures.

Ah so you were the chappy who helped Tone up off the pavement. I heard about him sobbing FOI FOI.

Hamish said...

Sorry to come back on this Subrosa, but your response to my comment is as illogical as your original post.

The reason that the figures for other cancers have moved up the scale is the good news that many smokers have quit in the light of overwhelming evidence that smoking kills. Slowly, painfully.

I speak as a former smoker.
Gave up at the age of 40. The first few weeks were hell. Took me nearly a year to kick the habit.

Please don't encourage others to engage in this dangerous habit.

subrosa said...

Hamish, I would never encourage anyone to smoke and I don't see that I have. Repeatedly on this blog I've said that smoking is the worst habit I have, by far.

This is where I disagree with you. I don't think the incidences of lung cancer have fallen, in fact, if you look at some statistics they've greatly increased in the female population. Of course that's because many women started smoking after WW2.

All the antis and pros can use statistics to prove their cases. What I would like to see is an honest breakdown of cancer cases which are directly caused by smoking.

I'm fortunate. My GP understands my struggle with smoking and doesn't preach. These days, with the exception of family and friends, I'm treated no better than a criminal.

Well done for stopping. I have admiration for those who do. Just don't say, because I haven't managed it, that I'm encouraging others. All I'd like to see is some fairness in statistics. It's so easy to blame smoking and the Righteous are now beginning to realise it's just as easy to blame food, but that's another story.

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