Chris Hiley's blog

Breast screening, overdiagnosis and some denial

There was another publication on the unintended consequences of mammography last week, so off I went to look at it. Ha! Bless those Scandewegians. Who knew they’d  turn out to be so much trouble on breast screening? Norwegians this time. It’s been Danes. They host the Nordic Cochrane Group in Copenhagen who stirred things up in the past, questioning just what on earth breast screening is doing to women.…..

Good grief, what have we done?

We? I mean women, mostly; and people who work in cancer charities. That, in a nutshell, is my response to Lea Pool’s documentary Pink Ribbons Inc. shown in London as part of the recent Human Rights Watch Film Festival. 

Throwing down the gauntlet: Cancer charities and inadequate cancer information for men and women aged 75 and over

I was at an interesting but somewhat passionless National Cancer Equalities Initiative (NCEI) event on 12 March, on oncology decision making in older age. It wasn’t a particularly revelatory set of results – the researchers showed ageist clinical decision making, by oncologists and haematologists.

Who'd have thought it?

What fresh nonsense is this? Smoke, mirrors and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

I found the following on The Prostate Cancer Charity website, about a party marking the current Awareness Month. I’ve lifted it as posted, and added my own comments.

It is the usual muddle of half baked wishful thinking which manages to imply certainty and health advice, without actually containing any of either. You'll learn about their celebrity supporters and the fundraising, but any actual facts about prostate cancer come courtesy of me! 

Women's Hour: Going for the full set. I may as well annoy the prostate cancer lobby as well

… this follows on from the previous post and should be read with an exasperated and another thing tone to your internal voice. To re-cap – the breast cancer lobby was advanced by Radio Four’s Women’s Hour as a great model for other health lobbies to copy….in particular, the prostate cancer one.

Women's Hour: Why are they so certain of the 'success' of breast cancer awareness?

This week i-ve been on i-player. There's a piece on Women’s Hour about cancer awareness campaigns.  Women’s Hour on 9 February 2012 (chapter two) featured a piece on breast cancer campaigning and what men’s health campaigners could learn from it. Inevitably, the prostate cancer lobby, as personified by the CEO of The Prostate Cancer Charity, was the pupil.

Anyone tootling round my posts knows, or will shortly find out, that I think cancer charities’ styling of cancer awareness is bonkers.

Welcome review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. About time.

My erstwhile professional regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, is getting itself into a bit of a pickle.

A welcome enquiry into the way it regulates nurses is about to start, launched by ex-nurse and Minster for Health Anne Milton, after, but probably not because, the Chief Executive removed himself suddenly from the field of play in January 2012 and may or may not have trousered a golden goodbye. The NMC won’t say, apparently.

No to Abiraterone?

NICE has said no to Abiraterone. Don't rail at NICE. At least, not only at them. They follow rules and those rules restrict NICE's remit.

Is there a place for a ‘human rights’ approach, to increase cancer research spend in rare cancers?

There are several assumptions in that header. The least problematic being is there a need to increase cancer research in rare cancers?  As people are dying that’s certainly a ‘yes’ in all cancers and particularly in the subset of ‘rare’.

My wobbly human rights slant pops up at the end, rather than being the centre of the story.

Good luck Bowel Cancer UK, with "Care to Share".

Aha! Another mildly daft poll, about the daft British public, women in this case, and their erroneous beliefs on cancer risk, in women. This one is a bread and butter error, arising from the cumulative effect of all dopey, disconnected cancer awareness everywhere. Once more, gender specific cancers are thought of as being a greater problem for a gender (in this case women) than non-gender specific cancers are.