[ RadSafe ] Re: ALARA kills: 17 papers, [etc.]

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 27 09:16:50 CDT 2006

What you say is partly my point.  There are many
factors that are involved with health and life
expectancy.  Nevertheless, I know of no studies that
show ALARA has killed anyone; it is a personal opinion
and should not be thrown about as fact. Repeating an
opinion or personal claim does not make the statement
a fact.

As for my statement about cancer rates, I did post the
following on February 9, 2006, on this list server. I
should have said cancer death rates.  I have seen the
latest statistics on the incident rates, but that
should be linked to the smoking rates.
. . .

Cancer deaths fall for first time
First decrease since record-keeping began in 1930s

Thursday, February 9, 2006; Posted: 8:41 a.m. EST
(13:41 GMT) 
Milestone: The number of U.S. cancer deaths fell for
the first time in more than 70 years. New data show
556,902 people died from cancer in 2003, a decrease of
369 from the year before. 

Explanation: Smoking is on the decline, and cancer is
spotted earlier and treated more effectively.
Significance Roughly half a million Americans still
die each year, but experts see this as a milestone. 

The most common cancers and the deaths they caused in

Lung cancer: Men, 89,964; women, 68,122.
Colon, rectum cancer: Men, 28,007; women, 27,951. 
Breast: Men, 380; women, 41,620. 
Prostate: Men, 29,554. 

Source: AP, National Center for Health Statistics  
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The war on cancer may have
reached a dramatic turning point: For the first time
in more than 70 years, annual cancer deaths in the
United States have fallen.

The number of cancer deaths dropped to 556,902 in
2003, down from 557,271 the year before, according to
a recently completed review of U.S. death certificates
by the National Center for Health Statistics.

It's the first annual decrease in total cancer deaths
since 1930, when nationwide data began to be compiled.

The decline is welcome news in the medical community,
said Arthur Caplan, University of Pennsylvania

"The war on cancer" has not always gone well in the
public's eyes, Caplan noted. Despite decades of
scientific research and screening campaigns, radiation
and chemotherapy cancer treatments remained harsh and
total deaths continued to rise, he noted.

"It's no surprise this dip in numbers would be greeted
with joy by 'the commanders,' if you will, in the war
on cancer," Caplan said.

For more than a decade, health statisticians have
charted annual drops of about 1 percent in the cancer
death rate -- the calculated number of deaths per
100,000 people. But the actual number of cancer deaths
still rose each year because the growth in total
population outpaced the falling death rates.

"Finally, the declining rates have surpassed the
increasing size of the population," said Rebecca
Siegel, a Cancer Society epidemiologist.

Experts are attributing the success to declines in
smoking, and the earlier detection and more effective
treatment of tumors. Death rates have fallen for lung,
breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, according to
American Cancer Society officials, who analyzed the
federal death data.

Those are the four most common cancers, which together
account for 51 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths.

The breast cancer death rate has been dropping about 2
percent annually since 1990, a decline attributed to
earlier detection and better treatment. The colon and
rectum cancer death rate, shrinking by 2 percent each
year since 1984, is also attributed to better
screening. The prostate cancer death rate has been
declining 4 percent annually since 1994, though the
reasons for that are still being studied.

The lung cancer death rate for men, dropping about 2
percent a year since 1991, is because of reductions in
smoking. The lung cancer death rate for women,
however, has held steady, a sign that reflects a lag
in the epidemic among women, who took up smoking

The total number of cancer deaths among women actually
rose by 409 from 2002 to 2003. Among men, deaths fell
by 778, resulting in a net decrease of 369 total
cancer deaths.

With such a small drop in deaths, it's possible they
will rise again when 2004 data is tabulated, said Jack
Mandel, chairman of epidemiology at Emory University's
Rollins School of Public Health.

Cancer is diagnosed more often in older people than
younger people, and the large and aging population of
Baby Boomers may push cancer statistics a bit. Even
so, that should be offset by treatment improvements
and declines in smoking and cancer incidence.

"I still think we're going to see a decline," Mandel

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. 
--- Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com> wrote:

> April 26
>          John Jacobus wrote:
> >Obviously, our policies to keep exposures low is
> >responsible for our better health, incresed life
> >expectancy and lower cancer rate.  How can you
> argue
> >with those facts?  If you think radiation is so
> >important what are you doing to increase the
> radiation
> >exposure of you and your family?
>          Better health and increased life expectancy
> can be attributed to 
> many circumstances, for example better diets
> overall, and better medical 
> care (including more and better cancer screening)
> that is available to more 
> people.  No single factor, including ALARA, can be
> credited with these 
> salutary developments.  Better sanitation and public
> health measures, and 
> widespread vaccination have led to the virtual
> eradication of infectious 
> diseases that killed millions in the days of no
> vaccinations, no 
> antibiotics, and unclean and un-chlorinated water. 
> When was the last time 
> you heard of someone in the United States dying of
> typhoid fever, cholera, 
> or smallpox?  Better pre-natal and post-natal care
> have led to increased 
> life expectancy.  Instead of dying shortly after
> being born, children live 
> to be 80 or 90.
>          Begging your pardon, John, but I must
> question your claim of lower 
> cancer rates.  The overall age-adjusted cancer
> morbidity and mortality 
> rates have remained virtually flat since
> approximately 1950.  There are 
> three significant exceptions to this.  First, lung
> cancer, and there is no 
> need to explain that increase.  Second, female
> breast cancer.  This cancer 
> appears to be best correlated with high-fat diets. 
> Third is prostate 
> cancer.  The increase in morbidity for this cancer
> can be attributed to the 
> PSA test, a very sensitive and reliable test for
> prostate cancer.  The 
> actual incidence rate is more than likely the same,
> and the apparent 
> incidence rate has increased because of a better
> test and because of more 
> screening.  My admittedly non-medical guess is that
> much of the apparent 
> increase in cancer can be attributed to the better
> screening, and to better 
> diagnostic techniques.
>          Any comments about what I am doing to
> increase my radiation 
> exposure will be irrelevant and immaterial.  I am
> only addressing better 
> health and increased life expectancy, and I am
> questioning the claim of 
> lower cancer rates.
> Steven Dapra
> sjd at swcp.com
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"A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify." 
Leo Szilard
-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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