Cancer survival – inflating the figures

Why the industry needs to stop inflating cancer survival figures.

We would all love to see a cure for cancer and we applaud all genuine progress in reducing mortality rates.

However, when the cancer industry boasts that early detection of cancers, coupled with advances in chemo & radiation “treatment” are responsible for improved survival figures year on year, it is misleading the public. As you’ll see below, survival figures are inflated due to a number of factors.

The only true measure of progress would be a new non-toxic therapy showing a clear survival benefit of weeks or months, and that would not harm the patient in the long run.

The millions of hours and trillions of dollars already spent on research has produced no such therapy to date.

“In the end there is no proof that chemotherapy in the vast majority of cases actually extends life, and this is the GREAT LIE about chemotherapy, that somehow there is a correlation between shrinking a tumour and extending the life of the patient. “

Ralph Moss, PhD

Why it matters.

When patients believe the inflated survival figures, they are more likely to put their trust solely in the “improved treatments”. Now all they need to do is follow doctors orders and hope for the “all-clear”.

However, research has shown that for most patients, standard treatment doesn’t result in long-term cancer free survival. All too often patients get short-term remission followed by a deadly recurrence.

In reality, there are many proven complementary therapies that can be used alongside standard treatment to help boost the patients chances of survival. But they won’t be told this by their oncologist or cancer charity.

Sadly, almost 10,000 cancer patients will die this year – just like last year and the year before that.

That’s why it matters.

What is a cancer survivor anyway?

If you think cancer survivors are people that have actually beaten cancer you wouldn’t be alone. But you’d be wrong.

The National Cancer Control Programme tells us that
cancer survival starts at the time of diagnosis.

There were almost 200,000 survivors at the end of 2019 (the latest year for which we have complete statistics) according to the National Cancer Registry Ireland.

That is the total number of people who were ever diagnosed with cancer in Ireland and were still alive at the end of 2019.

But, the National Cancer Control Programme goes on to tell us: For those who have metastatic cancer the ‘survivor’ label may not always be considered a good fit as these persons continue to live with cancer every day.

Given that metastasis is responsible for about 90% of cancer deaths according to this scientific review, many of these “survivors” will not actually survive, but are nonetheless used to inflate survival figures. This is deeply insulting to these patients and their families.

Furthermore, 25,291 people were diagnosed with invasive cancer in 2019 alone. Many would not even have started treatment and most would still be alive anyway without any treatment at all. Yet they were all classed as survivors, further inflating the survival figures. Whether deliberate or not, this is extremely misleading.

Cancer Screening – another inflation tool

Cancer Screening is done to detect potential cancers in people who do not have any symptoms of disease.

Screening distorts the survival figures because of both Overdiagnosis and Lead-time bias.


Screening detects abnormalities that meet the pathological definition of cancer but that will never progress to cause symptoms or death (non-progressive or slow growing cancers). The higher the number of overdiagnosed patients, the higher the survival rate.

The authors of this study which looked at cancer overdiagnosis stated:
We estimate the magnitude of overdiagnosis from randomized trials: about 25% of mammographically detected breast cancers, 50% of chest x-ray and/or sputum-detected lung cancers, and 60% of prostate-specific antigen detected prostate cancers.

Breast cancer overdiagnosis
This Article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 31% of all breast cancers were over-diagnosed (ie there was no cancer present in the first place).

This is relevant because this Dept. of Health Press Release says a quarter of female breast cancer cases diagnosed during 2017-2019 were detected as a result of screening and the National Breast Cancer Research Institute tells us that breast cancer makes up 23% of all cancer survivors.

So, lets do a little calculation here.

200,000 survivors at the end of 2019
23% (46,000) of these were breast cancer cases
a quarter (11,500) of these were detected as a result of screening
If 31% of these were overdiagnosed then
3,565 “survivors” never had a life-threatening cancer in the first place, further inflating the survival figures.

The same goes for overdiagnosis of prostate and other cancers.

Did you know?
In The Great Prostate Hoax, Richard J. Ablin exposes how a discovery he made in 1970, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), was co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry into a multibillion-dollar business. He shows how his discovery of PSA was never meant to be used for screening prostate cancer, and yet nonetheless the test was patented and eventually approved by the FDA in 1994.
The Great Prostate Hoax: How Big Medicine Hijacked the PSA Test and Caused a Public Health Disaster. Richard J. Ablin, PhD with Ronald Piana.

Lead-time bias

The way statistics are manipulated is through the whole idea of early detection. Since cancer treatment success is measured on surviving five years after the first date of diagnosis, all we need to do in order to give the perception of greater success is to diagnose the patient earlier. This effect is known as “lead-time bias”.

Russell L Blaylock M.D explained this very well in his book Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients. ” One of the recently exposed deceptions of oncologists is the fact that cancer is now being diagnosed at an earlier stage of the disease than in more earlier reported studies thereby giving the false impression that people are living longer due to their treatment. For example, if a cancer is diagnosed five months earlier than was possible 10 years ago, it will appear the patient lived five months longer due to the treatment.”

A major study on cancer survival examined data over a 45 year period and found that changes in 5-year survival rate over time bear little relationship to changes in cancer mortality.

See full article on Cancer Screening

We need to be honest about all the factors contributing to survival

Improved survival is due to “more modern treatments in chemotherapy and radiotherapy” boasts cancer charities.

While putting a positive spin on survival rates certainly helps to bring in more donations for cancer charities, the harsh reality is that “more modern treatments in chemotherapy and radiotherapy” do little to reduce cancer deaths in any meaningful way.

Even with no treatment at all, some cancer patients live for a number of years. For example, in the case of liver cancer, median survival without treatment of stage 0 or A is 3 years (Annals of Oncology).

A study published in 2018 in JAMA Oncology found that colorectal cancer patients who improve their diet and lifestyle survive longer with a 42 per cent reduced risk of death than those who do not make the changes. This is way beyond anything drugs have to offer…and with only positive side effects!

This 2016 review concluded:
At least 20% of Breast Cancer patients, if left untreated would be alive after 5 years
Limited evidence suggests that around 10% of screen detected Breast Cancers may regress.

Some cancers that are diagnosed early do not develop symptoms requiring treatment, while others grow so slowly that the patient outlives the cancer and dies of other causes. Many of these are treated unnecessarily, leading to inflated survival rates.

Patients also contribute to increased survival because of:

  • tumour regression
  • smoking cessation following diagnosis
  • change in lifestyle behaviour
  • dietary changes
  • greater physical activity
  • complementary therapies
  • alternative treatments
  • vitamins and supplements
  • access to integrative cancer treatment centers abroad
  • other factors

Did you know?
The authors of this study surveyed 406 women with breast cancer in Ireland and found that over half (55.7%) used some kind of complementary or alternative therapy.

If “more modern treatments in chemotherapy and radiotherapy” are actually reducing cancer mortality, where is the evidence that they are responsible?

The definition of cancer survival should be:
Dying of old age or from some cause unrelated to cancer or cancer treatment.

It should not mean living with cancer for only five years while being pumped full of chemical toxins and having body parts removed, or living longer with a range of serious health issues such as heart disease.   

When survivorship figures are inflated, patients are given false hope and duped into believing that their survival chances are increasing all the time due to “improved chemotherapy and radiation treatments”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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