Marquette Warrior: Socialized Medicine and Prostrate Cancer

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Socialized Medicine and Prostrate Cancer

From Reuters:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani launched a new radio advertisement this week touting his health care plan and cited his battle with prostate cancer as an example of why the private U.S. health care system is best.

Giuliani, who passed on a U.S. Senate race in 2000 against Hillary Clinton (now a possible opponent in 2008 election) while he fought the cancer, pointed out in the ad that if he had been in Britain the survival rate is only 44 percent for prostate cancer because the government runs the health care system there.

However, Democratic-leaning bloggers and others have argued that the number is inaccurate and the survival rate is much higher. . . . The British Office of National Statistics says the most recent available five-year survival rate for prostate cancer there was 74.4 percent.

The U.S. five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent for those men who have prostate cancer that has not spread far in the body, according to the American Cancer Society. The 10-year survival rate is 93 percent, it found.
As is the typical case on issues like this, head to head comparisons are difficult. But any way you slice it, survival rates are higher in the U.S.

Even a critical piece on the MSNBC web site admitted that care is better in the U.S.
Dr. Patrick Walsh, a prostate cancer expert from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said there is no doubt that screening and treatment for prostate cancer in the United States is better than in England, but said the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“I don’t know where Giuliani got those numbers,” said Walsh, a university distinguished service professor of urology. “You can’t exactly compare death rates” because many prostate cancer patients technically die of pneumonia.

Walsh said that when he travels to England, he sees patients frustrated with the level of national care.
So while Giuliani’s numbers are exaggerated, the simple fact is that under socialized medicine in the U.K. the survival rate is around 75 percent, and the U.S. has a survival rate near 100 percent.

Turn that around and ask “how likely am I to die from prostate cancer if I get it?” You have about one chance in four in the U.K., and a vastly lower chance in the U.S.

Let’s face it: taking over the U.S. health care system was the dream of 20th century liberals and leftists. But increasingly it seems anachronistic.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain how despite how the so-called inferior socialized healthcare system in countries outside the US, that life expectancy of Americans is typically 1-2 years BELOW these countries (such as Canada/UK/France/Germany/Sweden). This despite total expenditure being roughly twice as high in US$ terms (and which excludes a large proportion of the population)

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because us American's have unhealthy diets, not because medicine is bad.

I wanted to note that the statistics on prostate cancer survival rates on the US vs UK as based on cases found and treated. The UK statistic presented above at about 75% doesn't count the people who went undiagnosed, so in fact the UK only gets to 75% when they count cases where it was identified. When you mix in all the people it wasn't found ahead of time so there could be treatment in the US, it drops to 40% in the UK.

The liberal argument that allowed the UK to get to 75% was that it "was not fair to count preemptively finding prostate cancer and preventing it like what happens in the United States".

The difference in mortality rates will increase too. Cancer treatment advancements have been made in the US in the last 2 years and the UK is reluctant to offer those treatments because they are more expensive.

Keep in mind people, in socialized medicine the goal is to keep the costs down because the government/tax pay flips the bill. In a capitalist system the goal is to keep the patient alive so they can pay their bill!

10:34 AM  

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