The rising cost of cancer

Cancer costs more and more every year for a couple of key reasons. First, people are always getting tested and diagnosed at higher rates. This is a big reason why cancer rates were seemingly so low just 100 years ago. Second, cancer is most prevalent as we age. As the baby boomers grow older, we are going to find more and more incidences of cancer. (There are, of course, more reasons, including inflation and other economic factors.)

Government researchers have recently figured several estimates for the cost of cancer care in 2020. They include:

* Using data from a 2005 national database, the team estimated medical costs associated with cancer were $127.6 billion in 2010.

* Assuming stable costs and survival rates, cancer costs will reach $158 billion in 2020.

* If the costs of cancer diagnostic tests and treatments rise 2 percent per year, the cost of treating cancer could rise to $173 billion by 2020.

* If treatment costs rise 5 percent per year, treating cancer in the United States could jump to $207 billion a year.

* In 2010, breast cancer was the most costly to treat at an estimated $16.5 billion, followed by colorectal cancer at $14 billion, lymphoma at $12 billion, lung cancer at $12 billion and prostate cancer at $12 billion.

* If cancer incidence and survival rates remain stable, the number of cancer survivors in 2020 will increase by 31 percent to about 18.1 million.

* Because of the aging of the U.S. population, the largest increase in cancer survivors over the next 10 years will be among Americans age 65 and older.

Short of a cure, the best way we can reduce these numbers will be to do all we can to avoid known carcinogens. That means doing everything we can to limit smoking. (I favor an outright ban.) It means discouraging tanning booths. (I favor an outright ban.) It means encouraging people to use sunscreen. (A requirement would be far from anything practical, thus I do not favor it.) It means getting kids to eat healthier. It means getting adults to eat healthier. It means doing a whole lot of things we all know we ought to be doing.

I expect a continued rise in costs.

Blood libel

After claiming her rhetoric has nothing to do with violence – one wonders why she took down her violent images and tweets, no? – Sarah Palin has gone and done something else stupid.

Sarah Palin today accused her opponents of manufacturing a “blood libel” by suggesting her rhetoric and campaign tactics had anything to do with the Arizona shootings.

Palin’s bizarre use of language is sure to provoke further controversy. A blood libel refers to a notorious passage in St Matthew where Jews said of the crucifixion: “Let his blood be on our heads.” Later it referred to a medieval myth that Jews killed Christian children as part of a religious ritual. Giffords is Arizona’s first Jewish congresswoman.

I’m more than willing to admit a lack of familiarity with the term “blood libel” before now. But then, I’m not the one using it in a rhetorically correct, but politically horrendous fashion.

I get angry when…

Via another blog, I have come across an old post by Greta Christina that explains so-called atheist anger. You should read the whole post.

I get angry when believers accuse atheists of being intolerant for saying things like, “I don’t agree with you,” “I think you’re mistaken about that,” “That doesn’t make any sense,” “I think that position is morally indefensible,” and “What evidence do you have to support that?”

Except instead of being called intolerant, the charge is usually “closed-minded” or even “bigoted”, the latter of which is a massive misunderstanding of what bigotry is.

Tom shoots Carlos

Four times.

A pistol-packing jogger in Florida won’t be charged for shooting and killing a teenager who attacked him during a midnight run.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they are convinced Thomas Baker acted in self defense when he fired eight shots at 18-year-old Carlos Mustelier near Tampa in November .

Prosecutors say Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law was a factor in their decision. The law, passed in 2005, gives people the right to use deadly force as long as they “reasonably believe” it is necessary to stop another person from hurting them.

Baker told police he reached for his gun when the teen punched him in the face. Baker has a concealed weapons permit.

The teen was hit four times in the chest, back and buttocks. He died at the scene.

Ignoring Florida’s shoot-first-ask-questions-later law, one has to wonder if it was a Carlos who shot a Tom if the law would be applied in the same way – especially if it was an older Tom shooting a younger Carlos. Since there were four gunshots involved, I’m guessing the law would be viewed just a little differently.

Christians deep down

Christians say that all we need to believe is faith. We need to have faith that God is there, that he loves us. If we let him into our hearts, he will enter and it will be glorious.

But this isn’t what Christians really believe. They aren’t motivated by their so-called love or belief in their particular, cultural god. No. What motivates them is a hatred for science and rationality and reason. They refuse to let any of these things into their minds. They don’t want to have to answer to known facts or complicated ethical problems or fundamental errors in their belief system.

Deep down Christians know there is no God. They know that science has shown the world, for all intents and purposes, to be an atheistic one. They really do know that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old, that it is governed by understandable laws, that because of quantum mechanics and a law like gravity, there must be a Universe. They really do know that life is 3.9 billion years old, that it came from a simple replicator, that the why behind life is that genes will necessarily replicate as a population so long as they are able to do so. They really do know that humans are incidental, that natural selection does not demand we ever exist, and in fact, that it says our odds of being here would virtually disappear if the tape of life were to be re-run. They really do know that all that matters is what we do with the lives we have now because these are the only lives we will ever have. They really do know that things like love and sympathy and empathy and values and morality and all those special connections so many of us have with one another are what drive our goodwill. They really do know all these things and more.

But Christians will deny. They will deny it until the very end. The idea that science and reason and rationality have prevailed – not may prevail or will prevail, but have prevailed – hits at their very core. It destroys them to know that what they fundamentally hate is king of all. As H. L. Mencken once said,

The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.

How many Christians are likely to find this post highly objectionable and wholly offensive? Perhaps all? Good. Now maybe we can stop hearing about how much atheists really deep down just hate God.

If evolution worked like homeopathy

via xkcd

Thought of the day

I’m sitting here giving quite a bit of thought to something. But I just can’t seem to find the answer. Perhaps FTSOS readers can help:

When has the right-wing ever been right about anything?