Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the original scientific article quoted in this Economist article about cancer survival rates in different countries. My guess is that The E has had access to an early version of the August issue of Lancet Oncology.
One problem is that the data are pretty old – we’re looking at performance during the 1990s – but it is still worth noting how pathetic Danish health care performed in cancer treatment. In the 1990s the chances of a Danish man to survive prostate cancer were at the same level as in Poland.
As I see it, the E uses the data to hawk the US style of health care which of cause begs two questions:
- Given the much higher costs of health care in the US compared with all other countries, doesn’t the marginal gain in survival rates look a bit thin?
- What happens when we introduce social inequalities in the equation. Some US residents definitively have better access to medical treatments while others have to do with minimal programmes.
Money undoubtedly plays a role here and that the Danes were too good for our own good at controlling health care expenditure is by now an established wisdom.