Betsy McCaughey reviews worldwide cancer treatment results, finding best results are in the U.S.:
Last month, the largest ever international survey of cancer survival rates showed that in the U.S., women have a 63% chance of living at least five years after diagnosis, and men have a 66% chance — the highest survival rates in the world. These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage. In Great Britain, which has had a government-run universal health-care system for half a century, the figures were 53% for women and 45% for men, near the bottom of the 23 countries surveyed.
A 2006 study in the journal Respiratory Medicine showed that lung cancer patients in the U.S. have the best chance of surviving five years — about 16%. Patients in Austria and France fare almost as well, and patients in the United Kingdom do much worse with only 5% living five years. A report released in May from the Commonwealth Fund showed that women in the U.S. are more likely to get a PAP test every two years than women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., where health insurance is guaranteed by the government. In the U.S. 85% of women ages 25-64 have regular PAP smears, compared with 58% in the U.K.
…Access to new, better drugs also explains differences in survival rates. In May, a report in the Annals of Oncology by two Swedish scientists found that cancer patients have the most access to 67 new drugs in France, the U.S., Switzerland and Austria. For example, erlotinib, a new lung cancer therapy, was 10 times more likely to be prescribed for a patient in the U.S. than in Europe. One of the report’s authors, Dr. Nils Wilking from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, explained that nearly half the improvement in survival rates in the U.S. in the 1990s was due to “the introduction of new oncology drugs,” and he urged other countries to make new drugs available faster.