More than 15,000 people in Britain die every year as a result of cancer treatments rather than the disease itself, Lord Saatchi has said.
The Tory peer said he had been given the estimate from someone in the medical profession.
The advertising mogul has been campaigning for law changes to enable more innovation in treatment since his wife, novelist Josephine Hart, died from a form of ovarian cancer in 2011.
Lord Saatchi said: ‘The point is we don’t know if it is 1 per cent of patients or 100 per cent of patients who die as a result of the treatment.
‘What we do know is that the cancer drugs do such damage to the immune system that the patient is helpless to resist fatal infections like E.coli or MRSA or septicaemia.’
He said the Office for National Statistics under World Health Organisation guidelines only recorded ‘the single underlying cause of death’.
‘In other words it doesn’t record what is known as the sequence of causation, sometimes known as the sequence of conditions that led to the actual death,’ he said.
At question time in the House of Lords, he asked health minister Earl Howe: ‘As this is supposed to be the era of big data, will you review the limitations of cancer mortality statistics in order to assist scientists and doctors to have the information to move forward innovation towards a cure for cancer?’
Lord Howe said statistics were collected for when cancer was the cause of death but not when treatment of cancer was the cause of death.
He agreed it was ‘important to have more information about the effect of cancer treatments on mortality’ but added that “new data collections” were under way to provide more detail.
He said new figures would provide better information about deaths following the delivery of chemotherapy while others statistics would give information about death after surgical treatment.
But he warned: ‘It can be very hard to identify the precise cause or sequence of progression of factors resulting in death, particularly for those with end-stage cancer or who are particularly frail and are experiencing physical deterioration.
‘So this can never I think be a precise science.’
2013 Miles in 2013
I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.
The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles and in April I completed 192.1 miles. If you can please spare £7.85 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.
2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules
The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:
- All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
- I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment
To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.