Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Black breast cancer is different

Leftists have a religious belief that all races are the same except for hair, lips and skin. Why there are no differences other than the visible ones is never explained. And they only admit the visible differences because they cannot be denied. We repeatedly find that the truth is very different, however -- including a quite stark difference noted below:

Black British women in Hackney, East London, are diagnosed with breast cancer 21 years younger than white British women, according to a Cancer Research UK study published online in the British Journal of Cancer. In the first UK study to look at the patterns of breast cancer in black British women, the researchers studied 102 black women and 191 white women diagnosed with breast cancer at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East London, between 1994 and 2005. They found the black patients were diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 46 while the white patients were diagnosed at an average age of 67.

Researchers based at the Institute of Cancer and Cancer Research UK clinical centre at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry also found that survival was poorer among black women with smaller tumours. In addition, their initial findings suggest that tumours in the younger black patients were more likely to be aggressive, and a higher proportion of tumours were basal-like - meaning they were less likely to respond to newer types of targeted breast cancer treatments like Herceptin. If these results are confirmed in larger studies, the findings could have implications for diagnosis, screening and treatment of black British breast cancer patients in the future.

Study author Dr Rebecca Bowen, said: "Twenty five per cent of all breast cancer cases diagnosed in London during the period studied were in women aged 45 or younger - but this figure rose to 45 per cent among the black population in Hackney. We think the differences in the way tumours of black and white women behave can be put down to the biological differences between the two ethnic groups. We're now trying to find out why the tumours are so different so that we can develop new treatments to target the aggressive forms of breast cancer seen in young black women."

Until recently, UK cancer registries have not collected ethnicity data routinely, but incidence of breast cancer among black British women is thought to be lower than the white population. American research has suggested that African-American women get breast cancer at a younger age and at a more advanced stage - but this is the first UK study to draw these conclusions.

Dr Bowen added: "We've just received funding for the next stage of our research which will allow us to determine the type of cancers these women are getting at this young age. It's important that we use the information learnt from this study to raise awareness of breast cancer risk factors and the importance of early detection among the black population."

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, said: "This is very interesting research. The fact that black women are being diagnosed with breast cancer at a much younger age than white women is clearly worrying. If these results are confirmed in follow-up studies, it might be appropriate to alter screening services offered to black women to better reflect the age at which they are diagnosed with breast cancer - but at the moment it's too early to suggest any changes to the screening programme because the study was so small. "These findings highlight the need for all women to be breast aware, report any changes to the doctor promptly and attend screening appointments when invited, as early detection is important for successful treatment."



Early onset of breast cancer in a group of British black women

By RL Bowen et al.

Since there are no published data on breast cancer in British black women, we sought to determine whether, like African-American women, they present at a younger age with biologically distinct disease patterns. The method involved a retrospective review of breast cancer to compare age distributions and clinicopathological features between black women and white women in the UK, while controlling for socioeconomic status. All women presented with invasive breast cancer, between 1994 and 2005, to a single East London hospital.

Black patients presented significantly younger (median age of 46 years), than white patients (median age of 67 years (P=0.001)). No significant differences between black and white population structures were identified. Black women had a higher frequency of grade 3 tumours, lymph node-positive disease, negative oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status and basal-like (triple negative status) tumours. There were no differences in stage at presentation; however, for tumours of ~2 cm, black patients had poorer survival than white patients (HR=2.90, 95% CI 0.98-8.60, P=0.05).

Black women presented, on average, 21 years younger than white women. Tumours in younger women were considerably more aggressive in the black population, more likely to be basal-like, and among women with smaller tumours, black women were more than twice as likely to die of their disease. There were no disparities in socioeconomic status or treatment received. Our findings could have major implications for the biology of breast cancer and the detection and treatment of the disease in black women.

British Journal of Cancer 8 January 2008

Britain: Nurses' low pay 'fatal in rich areas'

Lives are being lost because of the central negotiation of pay rates for nurses, a study has found. Hospitals in prosperous areas such as London and the South East find it harder to recruit and retain nurses than those in areas where local wage rates are lower. This is because regional differences in nurses' pay are not as big as regional differences in the wider labour market. As a result, hospitals in prosperous areas treat fewer patients and have worse results than those in poorer areas, says a team from Bristol and London in a report for the Centre for Economic Performance and the Centre for Market and Public Organisation.

A gap of 10 per cent between nurses' pay and that of women working locally in the private sector was said to raise the death rate among people admitted to hospital after a heart attack by 5 per cent. The NHS and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are wedded to the idea that nurses everywhere in the UK should be paid the same. There are some regional variations, say Professor John Van Reenan, of the London School of Economics, and colleagues, but they do not fully reflect differentials in the labour market. In inner London, for example, white-collar wages for women are 60 per cent greater than those of women in the North East. Allowances are paid to nurses who work in inner London, but they amount to only about 11 per cent more than the wages of their colleagues in the North East.

The new research by Emma Hall, Carol Propper and John Van Reenen tracked changes in wage rates and changes in performance in more than 100 English hospital trusts between 1995 and 2002. Hospitals in areas where the outside labour market is strong treat fewer patients per staff member. They have higher death rates among patients who are admitted after heart attacks.None of these effects is found in private sector nursing homes. Nor do they seem to arise from financial problems faced by hospitals in high-cost areas.

There is a 15 per cent increase in death rates between hospitals where outside wage rates are in the top 10 per cent and those in the bottom 10 per cent. Productivity varies by 18 per cent between the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent. The results have important implications for regulated labour markets, and the NHS, the report concludes. "Rather than focusing on across-the-board increases in national pay, which we found not to be cost effective, relaxing the regulatory system to allow local wages to reflect local market realities would improve productivity and save lives," it says.

Peter Carter, the general secretary of the RCN, said: "In the RCN's experience, poor hospital performance tends to be related to an absence of clinical leadership, inadequate resources and staffing levels or ineffective financial management. "The modelling in this study can lead to simplistic conclusions on very complex issues."


Britain too now has ghetto schools

Airport-style metal detectors could soon be fitted in hundreds of secondary schools in an effort to deter pupils from carrying knives. Details of the initiative emerged as Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, admitted she would feel unsafe walking alone in London at night. Police are investigating a series of stabbings this month and Gordon Brown has expressed his alarm about "out of control" gangs of teenagers on the streets. More than three-quarters of knife crime is committed by 12- to 20-year-olds. The metal detector plan will be a key element in a new government action plan on violent crime next month.

Although the initiative carries disturbing echoes of some US cities, where high-school pupils are routinely scanned for weapons, head teachers said it could help to tackle violence in high-crime areas.

Ms Smith said schools could "build on" schemes by the British Transport Police to install metal detectors in busy railway stations. "I think it is a good idea if we look at the ways in which, in some schools, it might be appropriate to use search arches," she told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show. "I want young people to know it doesn't make them safer to carry a knife - it actually makes them more likely to be a victim." It is understood the use of metal detectors will be encouraged in schools in cities worst affected by knife crime, such as London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "There are schools serving areas where knife crime is high in the community and it is right these schools take measures to protect pupils." Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, said: "It is sad school scanners are necessary to stop a small minority of young people from carrying knives. But the number of high-profile stabbings at or outside schools in hot-spot areas for gangs means this is a sensible precaution."

Ms Smith also confirmed the Government was looking at whether alcohol was being sold too cheaply by supermarkets following the murder of Gary Newlove, the Warrington man killed by a group of drunken teenagers. "I think we need to look at whether or not both pricing and promotion is having an impact," she said.

Asked if she would feel safe walking in a deprived area such as Hackney at midnight, Ms Smith said: "Well, no, but I don't think I'd ever have done. You know, I would never have done that at any point of my life." She was also asked whether she would feel at risk in a more affluent district such as Chelsea. She replied: "Well, I wouldn't walk around at midnight and I'm fortunate that I don't have to do that."

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "This is an astonishing admission. It is shameful you can walk the streets of New York, Tokyo, Paris and Berlin safely at night, but not the streets of London."

Next month's violent crime action plan is expected to set out moves to increase the numbers of searches by police of suspected troublemakers and make more use of CCTV to catch them on tape.

Metal detectors are still relatively rare and hugely controversial in US schools, but they have been used, particularly in rougher inner-city neighbourhoods, for at least 20 years with some success. Reliable statistics are hard to gather, but studies down the years suggest that about 10 per cent of US schools use metal detectors - either the door-frame style commonly found in courts and other sensitive public buildings, or hand-held ones that school officials are able to use at their own discretion. The proportion is much higher in urban areas - particularly Chicago, which installed detectors in every middle and high school a few years ago.

Some detectors were installed in response to the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and other widely publicised killings. But for the most part schools decide the issue on their own criteria. A 1992 study in Oklahoma suggested metal detectors had helped cut the number of weapons being brought into schools by more than half, and helped cut violent crimes by about 35 per cent.


A British Warmist who sees the problems:

Although he abuses George Bush, he too is advocating technological fixes -- such as more use of nukes. He even wants more GM crops!

If there was ever an example of humankind being unable to bear too much reality, it is the current debate on climate change. No reasonable person any longer doubts that the world is heating up or that this change has been triggered by human activity. Aside from a dwindling band that rejects the clear findings of science, everyone accepts that we face an unprecedented challenge. At the same time, there is a pervasive belief that this is a crisis that can be solved by feelgood gestures such as eating organic foods and refusing to fly or installing a wind turbine on the roof

When it comes to deciding what should be done, most people, including the majority of environmentalists, shrink from the discomfort that goes with realistic thinking. George W Bush seems to have been persuaded that climate science is not a left-wing conspiracy to destroy the American economy. Along with the rest of our political leaders, however, he continues to insist there are no limits to growth. As long as we adopt new technologies that are supposedly environment-friendly, such as biofuels, economic expansion can go on as before.

At the other end of the spectrum, greens put their faith in sustainable growth and renewable energy. The root of the environmental crisis, they say - and here they agree with Bush - is our addiction to fossil fuels. If only we switch to wind, wave and solar power, all will be well.

In political terms, Bush and the greens could not be further apart, but they are as one in resisting the most fundamental fact about the environmental crisis, which is that it cannot be resolved without a major reduction in our impact on the Earth. This means curbing the production of greenhouse gases, but here fashionable policies can be self-defeating. The shift to biofuels, led by Bush but which is also underway in other parts of the world involves further destruction of rainforest, a key natural regulator of the climate. Reducing emissions while destroying the planet's natural mechanisms for soaking them up is not a solution. It is a recipe for disaster.

Yet standard green prescriptions are not much better. Many renewables are not as efficient or as eco-friendly as they are made out to be. Unsightly and inefficient wind farms will not enable us to give up fossil fuels, while large-scale hydroelectric power has major environmental costs. Moving over to organic methods of food production can have significant benefits in terms of animal welfare and reducing fuel costs, but it does nothing to stop the devastation of wilderness that goes with expanding farming to feed a swelling human population.

So conventional green nostrums are not all that different from Bush's business-as-usual policies. In each case, the end-result can only be a planet gutted of biodiversity, with humanity exposed to an increasingly hostile environment. To some extent, technology may be able to replace the biosphere that has been destroyed, but, like an obese patient hooked up to an artificial life-support system, we will be living on borrowed time. One day, the machine will stop.

The uncomfortable fact, which is ignored or denied by both ends of the environmental debate, is that an energy-intensive lifestyle of the kind enjoyed in the rich parts of the world cannot be extended to a human population of nine or 10 billion, the level forecast in UN studies for the middle of this century. In terms of resources, human numbers are already unsustainable. Global warming is the flipside of worldwide industrialisation, a side-effect of the dash for growth, and the reserves of oil and natural gas on which industry depends are peaking at just the point when demand for them is rising fast.

Contrary to the greens, there is not the remotest prospect that the world will renounce the use of fossil fuels. Ask any competent energy economist and you will discover that no expansion of renewables can satisfy the demand for energy that is being generated in China and India. Anyway, does anyone really expect the countries getting rich from hydrocarbons - Russia, Iran, Venezuela and the Gulf States - to give them up? As long as there is enough demand, these countries will continue extracting fossil fuels.

The only way forward is to curb the need for fossil fuels, while at the same time, since there is no way of giving them up altogether, making them cleaner. This means making full use of technologies many environmentalists view with superstitious horror. Nuclear energy has well-known problems of security and waste disposal and it is nothing like a universal panacea. Even so, demonising it is conventional green thinking at its delusional worst. Though solar power has potential, no type of renewable energy can replace the dirty fuels of the industrial past.

If we reject the nuclear option, we will inevitably end up going back to coal. There are emerging technologies that can make coal cleaner. That is no reason for turning our back on nuclear, which is already virtually emission-free. A similar reasoning applies to GM crops. Genetic engineering involves a type of human intervention in natural processes whose risks are not yet fully known. But the practical alternative is to carry on with industrial-style agriculture, whose destructive impact is all too clear.

Any feasible remedy for the environmental crisis involves high-tech solutions. The aim should not be to master nature or turn it into a mere resource for humans to exploit, as Bush and the greens, in their different ways, end up doing. Given the legitimate aspirations of people in developing countries, only a high-tech strategy has any chance of reducing the human footprint. But it will also be necessary to breach what has become the ultimate taboo and face up to the reality of population pressure.

Green activists, free-market economists and religious fundamentalists may not seem to have much in common, but they are all agreed there can be no such thing as overpopulation, or at any rate, nothing that can't be solved by better distribution, faster growth or a change in human values.

Actually, the perennially unpopular Rev Thomas Malthus was closer to the truth when, at the end of the 18th century, he argued that population growth would finally overtake food production. Industrial farming was supposed to make famine impossible. But it turns out to have been heavily dependent on cheap oil, and with farmland being lost as a result of the switch to biofuels, limits on food production are re-emerging. Far more than fantastical schemes for renewable energy, we need to ensure that contraception and abortion are freely available everywhere. A world of fewer people would be far better placed to deal with climate change than the heavily overpopulated one we are heading for now.

Despite unstoppable global warming, a humanly liveable world is still worth striving for. But it requires a sustained capacity for realistic thinking, which is not the strong point of the environmental movement. Along with the political classes, greens are in denial. While there is no technical fix for the human condition, intelligent use of technology is indispensable in coping with environmental disruption that is now unavoidable. It would be ironic if, because of their irrational hostility to high-tech solutions, the greens were to end up as much a threat to the environment as George W Bush.


A Catholic cardinal who hates devout Catholics

A British cardinal, of course

It has been a busy Advent and Christmas season for the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. He has, in a space of a few months, outraged, shocked and disgusted a surprisingly broad cross section of his flock. Polish immigrants, noted for the vibrancy of their Catholic faith; Catholic pro-lifers who have held the line for decades in the fight with little help from the hierarchy; and Catholic traditionalists who have spent decades living in near-exile from their own Church, have felt the back of Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's hand recently.

He started the season early with his official rejection in November of Pope Benedict's document removing the power of bishops to block the celebration of the pre-Vatican II rite of the Mass, an issue that has broad connections to acceptance of Catholic doctrine in a variety of areas, including moral issues.

Traditionalist Catholics are almost universally pro-life and pro-family, whereas many of those who have actively fought against the re-instatement of the ancient liturgical practices have also consistently championed a "progressive" Catholicism that rejects the moral law, particularly in sexual morality.

By the end of December, a week after his Christmas homily in which he urged Britons to be more accepting of immigrants, Murphy O'Connor had blasted Polish immigrants who are pouring into Britain in search of work.

In a homily, the Cardinal who heads the Catholic Church of England and Wales, urged the Polish community to learn English and integrate into local parishes. He claimed the Catholic Church in the UK was in danger of dividing along ethnic lines. The comments shocked both the Polish Catholic community and Catholic observers who have seen the influx of devout Poles as a desperately needed boost to sagging attendance and the increasingly grim outlook for the future of the Catholic Church in this country.

With photos appearing in the Telegraph of Poles kneeling devoutly on the sidewalk to hear Mass broadcast outside an overcrowded church, it is perhaps unsurprising that Polish leaders responded to the Cardinal's comments saying they felt "violated" and "spiritually raped". The comments made many Catholic commentators wonder aloud just what kind of Catholic immigrant the Cardinal would prefer.

But Britain learned just before Christmas what kind of Catholic their Cardinal does think is suitable. His real coup de grace, and perhaps his largest insult to the most faithful Catholics in the country, came at his unconditional reception into the Church of the man SPUC head John Smeaton identified as the major "architect of the Culture of Death" in this country: Tony Blair.

Cardinal O'Connor received Blair in a "private" ceremony in the Cardinal's own residential chapel. Neither the Cardinal's office, nor Blair's offered any explanation or retraction of the former Prime Minister's long record of anti-Catholic and anti-life policies.

To add insult to injury, an unnamed "Church source" presumed to be close to the Cardinal's office, had even chastised critics in the Daily Mail for daring to question the Cardinal's Christmas-week generosity. The Mail's source said, "Whatever he previously believed or did is a matter for individual conscience."

But the pro-life community, particularly its Catholic contingent, are so wearied by the decades of flaccidity, compromising and temporising and outright irreligion of its religious leadership, it hardly bothered to give a collective sigh of disgust. Among the pro-life Catholics of my acquaintance, the response was largely a quick shake of the head and a sickened laugh. In Britain's Catholic Church this latest outrage from its leadership was nothing more than business as usual.

At the same time, the odd news that Catholic attendance at weekly church services had, for the first time since the Reformation, outstripped that of Anglicans brought forward headlines like "Britain has become a 'Catholic country'" from the Telegraph. But the notion brought only sour and grim amusement to many British Catholic bloggers who have faithfully chronicled the growth of secularist anti-Christian hostility in British society, heavily abetted by the BBC's virtual monopoly on broadcast media. Despite the wild suppositions in the mainstream media, those who have been keeping track know that the news reflected only the continuing general collapse of British religious adherence.

The truth is simply that the native British have abandoned Christianity. It is easy to see what has alarmed Cardinal Cormac. The Poles are, quite simply, making him, and the Church he leads, look bad.

The robust, generous and stalwart faith of these people, tested through generations of brutal Communist suppression, has given them an ability to see through the fog of nonsense that has emanated out of British chanceries since the 1960's. And the Cardinal knows it. It is clear that the divide between the faith of the Poles and the dreary, watery, and half-hearted British Catholicism, content to allow the last dregs of its faith and devotion slowly to evaporate, is greater than one of language.

It is evident that whatever the Catholic leadership of this country has been doing for the last four decades, it has not been a boon to British Catholic faith or practice. If Cormac Murphy O'Connor is aware of the condition of his Church, he has chosen an odd way of expressing his concern by chastising the new Polish faithful for their very faithfulness.

Maybe the Cardinal should try a different tack, and take his own advice and accept the contribution of these people.


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