I hope you had a joyous holiday season unmarred by bad health reports.
Social media is filled with tragic stories of people dying too young and too fast of unusual cancers: “turbo cancer.” Some are blaming the COVID-19 vaccine; health authorities claim that this concern is scaremongering disinformation that will cause “vaccine hesitancy,” and that these products are “safe and effective.”
Statistics can be very hard to interpret. Is the sample biased? Are the diagnoses correct? One type of statistics that may be reliable—because there are consequences for failure—is marketing data. The graph shows sales of the anticancer drug Temodal.
The former pharmaceutical executive who posted this wrote that he had never seen tripling in the sales of a 20-year-old generic drug over just two years.
Other cancer drugs have increased also, but this is most notable. Temodal (temozolomide) is used for treating aggressive brain cancers like glioblastoma multiforme. It has many serious side effects, and “all patients eventually fail therapy.” This is one of the worst cancers to have.
So, what is happening? Is the timing associated with the vaccination campaign coincidental? Are cancers just seeming to increase because we are catching up with consequences of missed screening during COVID? (We don’t screen for brain cancer—it announces itself.) Is there another factor? Should we be investigating aggressively?