Phantom of the Prostate

Assigned Reading: Andrew Lloyd Webber Has Prostate Cancer
(FROM: UK Daily Mail)

No, I’m not a musical theatre buff. It’s fine, but you won’t hear showtunes on my car stereo. Still, the recent diagnosis of stage legend Andrew Lloyd Webber with prostate cancer is significant in that it reflects upon the debate currently waging over health care.

Last week, the New York Times published a politically convenient piece which argued that the benefit of cancer screenings may be overstated, that early detection could be of less value than originally thought.

Studies suggest that some patients are enduring aggressive treatments for cancers that could have gone undetected for a lifetime without hurting them. At the same time, some cancers found through screening and treated in the earliest stages still end up being deadly.

As a result, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society now says that the benefits of early detection are often overstated. The cancer society says it will continue to revise its public messages about cancer screening as new information becomes available.

While the limits of cancer screening have long been known in the prevention community, the debate is new and confusing to many patients who have been told repeatedly to undergo screening mammograms or annual blood tests to gauge prostate cancer risk.

The entire thing is absolutely asinine, and an example of the Times’ blatant promotion of the White House’s health care reform agenda.

My mother is still alive now because her breast cancer was caught early (a CPA, she was diagnosed on April 15, 1994). My father-in-law is thankfully cancer-free after his prostate cancer was caught early. And Andrew Lloyd Webber, no doubt a hero to the left, will hopefully be able to continue his storied career because his prostate cancer, too, was caught early.

When will people wake up and see the bias so shamelessly made evident by the news media? Good grief. Where are the cancer societies and other awareness groups on this? It doesn’t take a genius, after all, to see that the New York Times was denouncing the value of early cancer screening in order to fit the president’s agenda.

Maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber will write a play about it. Perhaps then the naive left will stand up and pay attention.



  1. Gail B says:

    Well, DUH!

    CERTAINLY it is better to catch cancer in its early stages!

    That NY Times story would have better served the public had the writer stated, "Early diagnosis and treatment, however, remains the best procedure because the risk of not finding the cancer poses a greater danger to the patient's life. A cancer that has been allowed to spread is more difficult–and sometimes impossible–to treat."

    You're right, Jeff. That is a political left lean on the part of the NY Times.

  2. Gail B says:

    And, I do hope that Andrew Lloyd Webber recovers without any setbacks.

  3. Amy says:

    Actually, I interpreted this differently. I see it as meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health care. Some cancers may indeed benefit from early detection because they respond well to treatment. Other cancers that are diagnosed early don't respond well even to aggressive therapy.

    It seems the intent would be to determine which cancers benefit from early detection and which cancers will not. That way, the patient could have more information regarding his choice of treatment. If I knew that I was in the early stages of a cancer that doesn't respond well to therapy, I would probably stop therapy earlier if I knew that fighting a long, arduous battle would end in my death anyway.

    I have had many patients fighting the losing battle with aggressive cancers that aren't responding to treatment. One was the sweetest 5 year old boy I'd ever met. Perhaps if his parents had been aware that the battle was almost impossible to win, he could have been saved a year of his life that was spent in the hospital while parts of his body, including his brain, were removed bit by bit. In the end, he was literally coughing up bits of his lung where the cancer had spread.

    These are hard choices, but information is crucial in making them. They are also choices that we must be allowed to make ourselves without government interference.

  4. Rix says:

    There was a similar piece in New York magazine which, while being a blatantly ultraliberal fishwrap, occasionally publishes sound scientific and medical articles. The main idea of article was to point out the following: cancer is can be CAUSED by the modern cancer-detection technologies at a very alarming rate comparable with the actual rate of early-stage cancer detection. The issue of costs was not even discussed – likely because it was published long before the apex of the healthcare debacle – so the article passed my "smell test".

    Bottomline: We should stop looking for a liberal spook behind every bush. Science is occasionally not on the side of common sense.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was so incensed by that NY Times article that I emailed my friend who is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. They have really not changed their stance despite what was reported. You are right when you note that this was some kind of article of convenience in support of Obama's ridiculous healthcare plans which will require that we all 'do with less' for the greater good of all. Hmmm….why does the novel Animal Farm come to mind???

  6. JOHN HOLDREN says:

    Why catch cancer? The population is way too high anyway.

  7. goddessdivine says:

    Was this on the editorial page? What a joke.

    My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. We are all quite hopeful that her surgery, chemo, and radiation this year have killed it….thanks to early detection and immediate treatment. I hate to think how she would fare under Obama care. (She'd be given a blue pill and sent home.)

  8. Boston Blackie says:

    Glad to hear your family members are doing so well. Expect much more of this from the lame-stream media. This WH will next remove the "don't ask don't tell" policy from the military and change it to "if they ask, don't tell" for the healthcare. Oh, and I bet that ALW will be getting his health care in the USA while it is still worthy.

  9. Gail B says:

    Mexican Oysters

    A big Texan stopped at a local restaurant following a day roaming around in Mexico. While sipping his tequila, he noticed a sizzling, scrumptious looking platter being served at the next table. Not only did it look good, the smell was wonderful.. He asked the waiter, "What is that you just served?"

    The waiter replied, "Ah senor, you have excellent taste! Those are called Cojones de Toro, bull's testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy!"

    The cowboy said, "What the heck, bring me an order."

    The waiter replied, "I am so sorry senor. There is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early and place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy."

    The next morning, the cowboy returned, placed his order, and that evening was served the one and only special delicacy of the day. After a few bites, inspecting his platter, he called to the waiter and said, "These are delicious, but they are much, much smaller than the ones I saw you serve yesterday."

    The waiter shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Si,Senor. Sometimes the bull wins.

    (Sorry about that, but I couldn't resist sharing!)

  10. NOT TODAY says:

    Senor, sorry none this morning, Barry was the matador and he lost the bull fight.

  11. Gail B says:


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