Tuesday, 11 August 2009

More Charity Scaremongery

You surely must have seen or heard it. We voluntary hedonists are all in mortal danger from cancer ... again.

Alcohol is largely to blame for an "alarming" rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.

Figures produced by Cancer Research UK show that since the mid-1990s, rates of oral cancers have gone up by 28% for men in their forties and 24% for women.

Yes, it's Cancer Research UK {yawn} de nouveau - you know, the ones funded by this government to produce stats which agree with their temperance agenda - on the hotline to Comrade Beeb (funded and controlled by this government to pump out stats that ... err).

"Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and the trend we are now seeing is likely to be linked to Britain's continually rising drinking levels.

Around three-quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and drinking alcohol.

Tobacco is, by far, the main risk factor for oral cancer, so it's important that we keep encouraging people to give up and think about new ways to stop people taking it up in the first place."

Yep. Alcohol consumption has grown since the 50s so it must be that, plus the fact that their research can't possibly make a case for it being down to tobacco means they have to add a little bit of extra scare to save face. CRUK have a tobacco control department and an alcohol control department (not that it is at all relevant, of course), so it must be them.

Don Shenker is ready with a quote again.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: "Many people are not aware of the connection between alcohol and cancer, yet as this research shows, it can be a major contributor or cause of the disease."

I like that. Many people are not aware. Nor was he until CRUK told him. I bet he did excited star jumps when they rang on the righteous bat-phone. Cos then he could say this again.

He said it was time to introduce tobacco-style health warnings on alcohol.

And 'new research'? They looked at a graph, looked for a way of applying it to their continual hypothesis, and banged out a press release.

Proper cunt Ian Gilmore, and Alan Maryon-Davies the 'libertarian', were doing their rent-a-gob bit for the Beeb again but I'm sure we don't need to repeat their bollocks, do we?

There is, of course, no rebuttal or dampening down of the scaremongering from opposing interests on the BBC. I mean, how can one argue with rampaging cancer? If the producers of alcohol were to try, they'd be a right bunch of heartless kiddie-orphaning bastards, wouldn't they? Tobacco manufacturers might like to have a go, but then they had their opinions censored years ago.

Shame really, as they could point to some pretty sound stats which would lend themselves to a not guilty verdict.

Let's ruminate on some of the timescales involved here. CRUK are reporting on a massive increase in mouth cancer rates in the past decade. So what has happened in that time regarding alcohol consumption to cause this? I sigh as I quote Costigan Quist's analysis of ONS figures yet again.

Are we drinking more now than a decade ago?
No. You can look at all the data and see that pretty much everyone, men and women, all age groups, are drinking about the same as we were in 1992 and in 1996.

So the increase in mouth cancers has happened despite no corresponding correlation in consumption of alcohol. Must be something else then, no?

CRUK have obviously worked this out, so they increased the lead time to 50 years. On that they have a decent point. We are drinking more, there is no doubt. Twice as much, in fact. And, of course, in those 50 years, there has been no improvement in health care or detection rates for mouth cancer it would seem, according to them. No improvement in such things in the past 10 years in that regard, either. The world has, in effect, stood stock still (no improvement in the NHS at all, despite today's revelations by Andy Burnham).

OK, cheap shot, I know. So let's look instead at smoking rates since 1950 seeing as that is the incubation time that CRUK have chosen for this stuff. It's difficult to find such figures, but here's some that may be useful.

In 1950, they were very high.

But as you can see, they have fallen dramatically. They were already significantly lower in 1974 and have halved even from then.

But no dramatic reduction in mouth cancer rates. It could be, could it not, that detection has improved. That would surely be the only reason one could point to an increase in mouth cancers being linked to a massive decrease in smoking prevalence over the chosen (by CRUK) incubation rate of 50 years. If detection has improved, then perhaps the quarter increase in diagnosis of such cancers is small beer compared to a doubling of alcohol consumption in half a century, coupled with increased health awareness, dramatically better health care, and improved diet.

So, no real scare at all.

There were a couple of aspects that CRUK failed to mention in relation to mouth cancer, though.

How about the appalling state of our dental system under Labour?

A shortage of NHS dentists is leading to thousands of needless deaths from mouth cancer, according to dental experts.

There are 4,750 new cases of mouth cancer in Britain a year. A Citizens Advice survey found that almost three million adults in England and Wales have had no dental treatment since the introduction of a new NHS contract for dentists in April. The BDHF estimates that the real figure for the UK is up to 30 million.

"That's the really frightening number," said Dr Carter. "We need funding at ground level to ensure people are given easier access to dental care."

Funny that CRUK and the Beeb chose not to mention such a thing.

Neither did CRUK talk about the increased oral intake of alcohol via dental mouthwashes.

This review assesses the epidemiological evidence, supportive in vitro studies and mechanism by which alcohol is involved in the development of oral cancer. Further, we review the literature that associates alcohol-containing mouthwashes and oral cancer. On the basis of this review, we believe that there is now sufficient evidence to accept the proposition that alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer and further feel that it is inadvisable for oral healthcare professionals to recommend the long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes.

Hey, CRUK. Care to mention mouthwashes as a possible contributory factor? Or are you too far up the arses of the pharmaceutical manufacturers of such products to mention things like that?

Next time you hear or read the phrase "say experts" via a BBC medium, treat it the same as you would the "an insider said" prefix to something written in the Sun. There really isn't a lot of difference these days.


Anonymous said...

It really is such a crock. Let me make a prediction: there will be a television campaign that will run for, say, 3 months. Not long after that, the Government will announce swingeingly increased taxation on alcohol in an attempt to 'encourage people to drink more sensibly'.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Excellent work!

When I saw the newspaper article with the words 'dramatic increase' I knew it was bollocks straightaway. It's only the absolute figure that matters - like I always say, "leaving the house increases the chance you'll be hit by a meteorite by several million per cent."

I had also assumed that CRUK were a FakeCharity but according to their accounts they receive next to nothing from the government, although I expect that to change very soon.

Ian B said...

Excellent post as every Dick!

Mark Wadsworth-

CRUK get a lot of money from the public through fundraising, by pretending to be a medical charity.

The problem with the "fake charity" thing is we're too narrow about the definition. It's not just a question of state money, I think, it's more a case of whether a "charity" is doing charitable work, or lobbying/pressure group/politics, regardless of where the income comes from. They're plugged into a complex web of funding, and where a pound starts before ending up in their pocket after sloshing through grant making bodies and so on doesn't IMV matter too much. Much of the enemy network is funded from the grant-making foundations of the progressive temperance movement, particularly in the USA- Robert W Johnson Foundation, Heinz, Ford, Rockefeller etc (over here, the likes of the Rowntree Foundations).

Saying "if your money is not from the state, you are legit" is too narrow, it doesn't consider the richness and complexity of the progressive network.

Just MHO of course.

Ian B said...

Er, that's "as ever" not, "as every Dick"...

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

I think the mouthwash link is interesting - that stuff is like drinking absinthe although the alcohol limit is lower: around 25% or so.

I'm more concerned about the other synthetic ingredients though: sorbitol, hexetidine, methyl salicylate, xylitol etc

Dick Puddlecote said...

Geek: Good point about those other chemicals.

MW & IanB: The Filthy Smoker at DK has repeatedly mentioned CRUK funding from government. £4m pa for helping the DH with the Smoking Kills white paper, I seem to remember. Plus a corresponding figure for anti-alcohol initiatives.

Secondment is another recently revealed method. For example, in pushing through the legislation to hide tobacco displays, the DH enlisted the services of a senior CRUK official for 2 days a week.

Edgar: You could be right. It would fit in with the 'chimp method' I was thinking of posting.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the burgeoning and hitherto unknown has lead to an increase in:

Sphincter Cancer
Pursed Lips Cancer
Irritating Cunt Cancer

It think we should be told.


p.s. Please don't tempt them to levy a tax on friggin mouthwash.. lol

Anonymous said...

D'oh first line should have read, "I wonder if the burgeoning and hitherto unknown righteous classes has lead to an increase in:"

Fausty said...

Agreed - great work, DP.

Are they trying to tell us that it takes several decades to develop mouth cancer from excessive alcohol?

If so, there can't be many young people with mouth cancer, unless they started drinking as toddlers.

Over the last few decades, the nicotine content has reduced in cigarettes as filters have improved.

Flouride might even be the cause. Remind me ... when did flouride make its way into our toothpastes?

Joe Public said...

Surely Climate Change causes cancer?

BTS said...

Sorry guys, this is my bad. Apparently my jism has been found to be highly carcinogenic.