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November 08, 2007 08:15 AM UTC

Rudy's cancer survival stats correct; Krugman lies with statistics as usual

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Another skeptic

David Gratzer wrote the article that Rudy quoted on prostate cancer suvival rates in the U.S. and U.K. and shows that not only was Rudy correct,  but that several measures of cancer survival in the U.S. and the U.K. show that survival rates are much higher in the U.S.

Link is here:

http://www.ibdeditor…

Gratzer, the author of “The Cure: How Capitalism can Save American Health Care,” writes:

Rudy Is Right In Data Duel About Cancer
By DAVID GRATZER | Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2007 4:30 PM PT
“My chance of surviving prostate cancer – and thank God I was cured of it – in the United States? Eighty-two percent,” says Rudy Giuliani in a new radio ad. “My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England? Only 44%, under socialized medicine.”
Critics have attacked his numbers, which he drew from an essay that I wrote for City Journal.
In the New York Times, Paul Krugman declared the stats “bogus numbers wrapped in an invalid comparison embedded in a smear,” and added that the 44% figure was wrong, citing a British government stat of 74%. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote that “the tough-talking former mayor is growing estranged from empirical fact.” Bloggers used harsher words.
Let me respond: The mayor is right.
According to data that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published in 2000, 49 Britons per 100,000 were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 28 per 100,000 died of it. This means that 57% of Britons diagnosed with prostate cancer died of it; and, consequently, that just 43% survived.
Consider some more numbers from various sources:
The American Cancer Society has released data from the 1990s suggesting five-year survival rates of 95% for the U.S. and 60% for Britain.
Lancet Oncology, drawing on data from the Eurocare database for this decade, published five-year survival stats this August showing survival rates of 99% for the U.S. and 71% for the U.K. (without England because of incomplete data).
And data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics, much quoted by the media, show rates of 98% and 74%, respectively.
Krugman and others have compared statistical apples to oranges. My 44% figure, replicated by economist John Goodman and others, looks at a snapshot in time, based on decade-old OECD data; Krugman’s 74% is a five-year relative survival rate from government sources today.
Because Giuliani was describing his experience with cancer from years past, referring to older data makes perfect sense. Even if you prefer the American Cancer Society’s 95% and 60% statistics – also from the 1990s – that would mean that Giuliani slightly understated British effectiveness but also American effectiveness.
Though the various sources’ different approaches have yielded, naturally, different results, their uniform conclusion is that Americans do better with prostate cancer than people across the Atlantic – much better.

I doubt the Rocky will publish this article in response to Krugman’s misleading column, which is being widely quoted by the lefty bloggers.

Comments

3 thoughts on “Rudy’s cancer survival stats correct; Krugman lies with statistics as usual

  1. He picked the best number from one study, and the worst from a different source, then put them together.

    That’s called lying with statistics.  It’s just a taste of the dishonesty we’re in for from Rudolph Giuliani.

  2. So I’m supposed to do some sort of mental calculus as to the likely survival rates of various presidential contenders? McCain’s cancer, versus Giuliani’s, versus Thompson’s? And make my choice based on that?

    If someone has enough stamina to campaign for president, and if they haven’t been pronounced terminally ill already, then as far as I’m concerned it’s a non-issue.

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