Opinion. Comm Belarus on 9 thousand cancer patients who were «cured» by coronavirus in 2020

Illustration: Comm Belarus
3 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Comm Беларусь про 9 тысяч онкобольных, которых «вылечил» коронавирус в 2020 году
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Comm Беларусь пра 9 тысяч анкахворых, якіх «вылечыў» каранавірус у 2020 годзе

Telegram channel Comm Belarus published a post about how statistics on the incidence of oncology in 2020 could have turned low and what coronavirus has to do with it. Here is the opinion unchanged.

Previously, the coronavirus was «treated» with a tractor, and now cancer is «treated» with coronavirus. You are all probably already aware of the new «scientific discovery» made by the academician of all sciences. It turns out that coronavirus supposedly cures cancer. And it’s not a joke. While Russian oncologists rushed to refute Lukashenka’s words, BT TV in order to somehow confirm this «discovery» involves a Deputy Director of the RSPC OMR (oncology and medical radiology – ed.), and his words are quoted by the channel of the Ministry of Health. But it is not clear what conclusions the population should draw from these statements? That the pandemic is good and cancer patients should get sick?

The «hypothesis» that coronavirus treats oncology is allegedly proved by the fact that the number of identified cancer patients has decreased (it’s true: in 2019, 41,923 new patients with malignant neoplasm were identified, while in 2020 — 33,641 people). But it is obvious that the decline was due to a decrease in the number of screening examinations (which, for example, in the US at some point decreased by 90% due to the COVID-19 pandemic). That is, fewer people are examined and fewer people are detected neoplasm, due to the fact that large health care resources are used in the fight against coronavirus.

Therefore, the figures of the detected incidence do not show the real one. What shows is mortality. After all, the detection rate fell, but this didn’t affect mortality anyway — cancer patients died and still die, and pathologists registered and continue to register the causes of deaths. Therefore, the most relevant indicator is precisely the mortality rate from cancer. But the data on mortality, as you remember, in Belarus are classified. You can see for yourself by opening the deleted collection of the Ministry of Health. There’re morbidity figures for the period of 2020, while the mortality figures are for 2019 period.

For example, in Russia and Ukraine, where mortality statistics are available, mortality from cancer has not changed: in 2019 in the Russian Federation it was 200.6 deaths per 100 thousand, and in 2020 – 199.0 deaths per 100 thousand people. in Ukraine in 2019, 197.3 died, and in 2020 – 199.2 per 100 thousand people. That is, as there was a mortality rate from cancer 2%, and remained. In Ukraine, it grew slightly. The decrease  by 1.6% in the Russian Federation, most likely, was due to the high mortality of cancer patients from coronavirus (some cancer patients died from coronavirus earlier, while under normal conditions they would have died a little later from an underlying disease). In fact, cancer patients are naturally more at risk of both contracting and dying from COVID-19, due to reduced immunoreactivity. According to the WHO, the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients with cancer as a concomitant disease was 7.6%, compared to 3.8% for all patients. In China, it was reported that the mortality rate of cancer patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is 6%, compared with 1% for healthy people. In general, all studies show the same picture. But there are no studies in Belarus. There are no normal statistics. And where there are no statistics, there is no evidence-based medicine.

Opinion. Comm Belarus on 9 thousand cancer patients who were «cured» by coronavirus in 2020

Illustration: Comm Belarus

But still, let’s look at the statistics we have. The collection of the Ministry of Health provides data on the number of patients with malignant neoplasm at the end of 2020. This number reflects the total number of cancer patients living in Belarus as at January 1. If we compare this number with data for previous years, as well as with data on morbidity, we find that in recent years the number of those leaving this contingent (the number of contingent at the beginning of the year plus the number of identified cancer patients for the year minus the number of contingent at the end of the year) was 26-28 thousand people, of which 13-14 thousand died from the underlying disease (cancer), the rest died from other diseases, and there’re also recovered. But nearly 38,000 patients dropped out in 2020, 9,000 more than in 2019 — an obvious jump. With high probability, these are the consequences of the «treatment» with coronavirus.

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