Talk:Mystery:Young Hollywood Breast Cancer Victims

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There may be a solution to this, the average age for being diagnosed with breast cancer is 64, but this doesn't mean that people cannot get breast cancer until they are 64.

You have named five cases where breast cancer has been contracted at a younger age, out of a pool of possibly tens of thousands of subjects (noting that you have expanded the definition of Hollywood to include relatively minor Australian celebrities and musicians). This is well in check with broader society, sadly many people do suffer from breast cancer at a young age. Unless the proportion of young people in general suffering breast cancer is different to the proportion of young "Hollywoodians" suffering breast cancer then there really isn't a mystery here to solve.

The only way that anyone will be able to demonstrate the possibility that Hollywood promotes breast cancer is by using statistics which show that the average age of breast cancer in Hollywood is significantly lower than that of society in general. StatsMsn 22:18, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Medline, one of the largest databases relating to medical articles, returned just two articles for a search of ""Breast Neoplasms (exp)" and "Hollywood". One of these only referenced Hollywood because to establish a timeframe (it was translated from Japanese, and used the term "Hollywood syndrome" in its title) whereas the other referred to the geographic location of a clinic. I think this establishes that there is no medical evidence supporting the claim that Hollywood somehow increases the likelihood of breast cancer. If you have alternative search terms or databases you want me to use post them here and I will. StatsMsn 22:46, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
Conservapedia is not limited to liberal medical journals. We are smart enough, I submit, to observe facts ourselves and let the readers draw conclusions. We do not simply regurgitate readily available information here. We tell the truth, even if it is censored elsewhere.--Aschlafly 23:19, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
Medline reports from almost all major medical journals, it does not discriminate based on political ideology. All you have done is listed a few cases and suggested that being famous and connected to Hollywood somehow increases the risk of breast cancer. You have not provided any evidence that the average age of breast cancer amongst stars is any less than the broader average. It is an unfortunate fact that young people do get breast cancer, but there is nothing to suggest that rate of young people in Hollywood being diagnosed with breast cancer is any different to the rate of young people in broader society. Until you refute this point you cannot claim that there is a mystery. StatsMsn 23:26, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
Mr. Schlafly, as I can see it, you seem to be a fan of false causality. X happened to this person and that person meets Y criteria therefore the event X is related to the criteria Y. If 5 people with brown hair contracts testicular cancer, does that mean that having brown hair predisposes you to testicular cancer? Just because someone meets one criteria and also fits another criteria does not mean they are related. That is exactly why medical studies are done, to establish if there is repeated and explainable links between any two things. You have no idea of these individuals medical history. There are no sources whatsoever to back this claim. Individuals can claim anything they want, it is only statistics and studies that can help justify them.

- AndrasK 23:40, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

A Demonstration

It is suggested that Belinda Emmett being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24 shows that Hollywood increases the risk of breast cancer.

There are around 20 million people in Australia, it's safe to assume that 10 million of those will be female. Using the statistics on the page 1 in 19,608 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they're 25, this is approximately 0.0051%. At this rate about 510 Australia women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they're 25.

Belinda Emmett is one person out of 510 who has been diagnosed with Breast cancer, this is a rate of about 0.2%. Now, film and television in Australia employs about 50,000 people [1] (the best figure I could find for now), this is approximately 0.5% of the population. Assuming that camerawomen and writers have also been diagnosed with breast cancer then I see no reason why the rate of women connected with "Hollywood" and who have been diagnosed with breast cancer is any lower than that of the broader population.

The reason Hollywood seems to have so many young stars being diagnosed with breast cancer is because these cases are very well publicised, but the sad truth is that many young women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and that their cases are largely forgotten. There is no mystery here, and there won't be until someone shows that the average age of breast cancer amongst Hollywood stars is any different to the rest of society. StatsMsn 23:37, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Good sir, we don't repeat readily known facts here! This is a crusade, good sir, and we're here to EXPOSE the FACT that HOLLYWOOD causes BREAST cancer IN starlets! IndianaJ 00:55, 4 May 2008 (EDT)


When are you going to realise that you cannot base statistical conclusions upon a non-random sample? You are selecting a category of people who are by definition, far, far younger than the normal population (actresses and pop stars being typically in an age range from 18-45). Therefore, any incidences of breast cancer you find within that population will of course appear to trend younger. Please, take Statistics 101 before jumping to such ludicrous conclusions - you're simply making a fool of yourself. Bongabill 14:19, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Bongabill, you're clueless. The 18-45 population of Hollywood certainly can be compared with the 18-45 general population as to incidence of disease. I doubt you've taken half the statistics courses that I have. You have typical liberal style in trying to intimidate.--Aschlafly 14:35, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Sure it can be compared Andy, but you haven't done that. If you compare the number of young Hollywood breast cancer victims (of course you might want to define what you mean by that first) to the rest of the population in the same age group, fine. You haven't done that. You might also want to clarify where you got your 500 from - clearly an estimate, but based on what? Murray 17:47, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

The Hollywood community is a well-understood population that consists of performers and entertainers in movies, television and music. Any ambiguity about that population is insignificant. The incidence of breast cancer in the general population by age is known, and an estimate of a population of 500 female Hollywood types under age 35 or so who would admit to having breast cancer due to performance demands or openness is a reasonable estimate within a factor of 2 or so.
You're free to make suggestions on improving the accuracy. But the attempts below to censor the inquiry altogether are, of course, absurd.--Aschlafly 18:29, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Mr.Schalfly, actually, I am a professional statistician with both graduate and post-graduate degrees in the subject, and also a 34 year professional career as a statistician working for the official statistics bureau of a major nation. Now, of course you can compare the 'Hollywood' 18-45 population to the general 18-45 population, but first you have to define that population. How are you defining your population? Is it that they are living in "Hollywood" - in which case it might be interesting to examine geographical factors upon the incidence of disease? No - as I see you are including Australians who live in the UK, people born in six different countries, and it seems none of the members of your data set are actually from the geographical region of Hollywood, and in fact many of them do not even live there either. So how are you defining members of your data set?
Bongabill, we don't fall for the unproven claims of credentials here. Wikipedia might be a better home for you. Your claim is absurd that no conclusions can be drawn from comparing disease incidence among Hollywood types to the general population. Tell me, did you work for the tobacco industry also in denying that cigarettes cause cancer?--Aschlafly 15:13, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Secondly, I note that your article does not compare your data set to the general 18-45 population, but instead compares it to the general population of 'all ages', quoting an average age of diagnosis of 64 - which is clearly outside your terms of reference. I'm afraid there's absolutely nothing correct here with any of your reasoning, which not only fails Statistics 101, but fails it in the first semester. This article is specious nonsense. Bongabill 14:59, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Well, I'm glad you're not a professor then. Or are you going to claim that also??? Your "know nothing" approach and liberal denials are nonsensical.--Aschlafly 15:13, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Just to point out, Mr. Schlafly, you fell back on your "record" of statistical courses as evidence to your statistical competency. [[User:AndrasK|AndrasK] 15:27, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I did, in response to credential bullying.--Aschlafly 18:20, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Actually ASchalfly, it was indeed you who first raised the issue of credentials in this thread - your comment "I doubt you've taken half the statistics courses I have" came after Bongabill's first and only comment on Conservapedia, and which never mentioned his or her credentials. StatsFan 18:52, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

All right Andy, I'll make a couple of suggestions. I suggest clarifying the basis of the estimate that there are 500 Hollywood women under 35 who would admit to having breast cancer. I don't understand where the number comes from - what was the method or source used to come up with 500? If that's a good estimate, your comparison is potentially legitimate. Then, I would suggest you do an actual statistical test to determine whether the numbers are significantly different. Murray 18:48, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Female rock stars likely to admit to breast cancer (e.g., due to a performance schedule) number on the magnitude of, at most, 50; female movie stars under 35 are perhaps a 100-200, at most; and other female actresses are perhaps another 100-200. Just look at how many albums and movies are released each year. Also, note that many stars go out of their way to conceal and deny health problems, understandably so. If you dispute any of these numbers, then I'd like to hear why.--Aschlafly 18:58, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
I'm not disputing them, I'm asking where they came from. So you looked up how many albums and movies are typically released in a year and extrapolated from that? Murray 19:05, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
That provides a ballpark estimate. Given that the incidence in the Hollywood community is an order of magnitude larger than the general population, ballpark estimates are enough to reveal a problem.
Note that a ballpark estimate would have -- and should have -- demonstrated that cigarettes cause lung cancer a half century before people accepted it. Millions of lives would have been saved by acting on the evidence available rather than demanding unnecessary statistical detail. Surely you don't defend that.--Aschlafly 19:34, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy, my man, a "ballpark estimate" is one thing. Pulling numbers out y'arse is quite another. If this really means something to you, then go and do some proper research. Lord knows you've got enough time on your hands. Reliable numbers may or may not be forthcoming, but at least you'll have tried and you'll be able to argue from a much stronger position if you succeed. Meanwhile, I'd quietly retreat from this one if I were you.
Sincerely, --OscarPeterson 20:24, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

I wonder how many of those who were included in the list of breast cancer cases would be included in the list of 500. If that 500 is based on albums and movies released, it appears that many of those women shouldn't be included. Shirley Temple is the only movie star there. Most appear to be television actresses, and I suspect many more fall into that category than movie actresses. So I suspect that 500 is a pretty big underestimate. Either way though, if you want to make the case, you should include a real statistical analysis. For example, in the last sentence, you could say There is likely no more than 1000 in the population of Hollywood types under age 35 who would have publicly disclose breast cancer. The list above has 8 cases (and growing). The expected rate is only 1.5 out of 1000 in that age group. A chi-square test of proportions indicates that the difference between these groups is not statistically significant, X2 (1 df) = 3.62, p = .109. Murray 21:28, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Why stop at age 35? Try applying your approach to age 30.--Aschlafly 22:25, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Mainly because I think the numbers given in the article have no basis in reality. The 500 is said to be based on the number of movies and albums released each year. According to [2] there are 473 movies each year - I think it's safe to say that nearly all have multiple women who would be included in this list if they had the misfortune to get breast cancer. And taking a look at the list, it's clear that the article is also referring to television actresses, in the US and across the world. So I think 500 is a gross underestimate. Even if the true population of female "Hollywood types" under 30 was 1000 (and I suspect it's more than that), the difference is not significant. Murray 23:28, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
The difference is significant, even if the 500 estimate is low. Realize that the estimate of 500 is not for all female singers and actresses, but only those who have performance schedules requiring disclosure of a personal health problem. A soap opera actress would be an example, of which there are perhaps only 50 in the relevant age group.
Multiple occurrences of a rarely occurring event are statistically significant, and it's incorrect to claim otherwise. There is nothing special about a baseball pitcher who throws only one no-hitter, but there is something special about one who throws three no-hitters, which is analogous to the data here.--Aschlafly 23:42, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Well, see, there's a couple of problems with that analysis. Let's assume for the moment that your guesstimate of 500 actresses/singers at any one time whose schedules would necessitate an illness disclosure is roughly accurate. Problems: 1)Your examples are not drawn from a single point in time, but from over a period of decades (which would stretch the 500 to thousands). 2)Many of these women, while well-known, were ill at a time in their life when disclosure would not have been necessary (that is, when they were no longer active, and not part of the 500). 3) Many of your examples are deeply obscure, and certainly not part of the 500.--RossC 08:59, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
No, there's definitely something special about a pitcher who throws a no-hitter. -CSGuy 23:54, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Murry you are compeletly wrong. You are using frequentist statistics which was created by that godless, evolution believing, eugenics supporting, liberal Fisher. It is inherently deceitful. You should instead use that devinly inspired Bayesian satitical methods. I suggest an uniform distribution aprior for your parameter. DanielB 22:54, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

An example of why this is fallacious reasoning

  1. The incidence of homosexuality in the general population is about 2-3%[3].
  2. Evangelical preachers Ted Haggard, Paul Barnes, and Roy Clements were found to be homosexuals.
  3. Our study shows incidence of homosexuality in Evangelical preachers is far, far greater than the general population and is instead 100%.
  4. Therefore, all Evangelicial preachers are gay.

Except there's just one thing - we know that's not true. So what's wrong with the reasoning? Selective sampling, that's what's wrong. And which is what you're doing in this article. Bongabill 14:33, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Bongabill, your reasoning is so absurd that it does not merit a response. Learn how to spell "fallacious" and return only if you can figure that out. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 14:35, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Can you point out logical discrepancies between your logic and his? Refusing to respond does not give you credit, it makes you seem even more wrong. If your argument is correct, then why can you not point out problems in his? And by the way, taunting someone regarding one simple spelling error is puerile. AndrasK 14:42, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Well, duh, the incidence of homosexuality among evangelical preachers is 3 divided by thousands. Should I do the arithmetic for you?--Aschlafly 15:14, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy to try and translate Bongabill's reasoning into simpler terms: Selection bias/selective sampling is where the sample you choose for your study is rigged to give an inaccurate result. For example, let us suppose that Planned Parenthood did a study into teens and promiscuity and ecluded teens with STDs and tried to use that study to show teens were having "safe sex". Obviously this would be false since the sample was not representative of the teenage population. Likewise your sample (the list) is inaccurate since it only includes "hollywood" women who ever got breast cancer. Also to ignore Bongabill's point and to point out his spelling mistakes smacks of a childish ad homniem attack, to repeat AndrasK.Luder 16:05, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

This article is utter nonsense. The reasoning is absurd. It is just laughable. So you can name twenty well-known women who have had breast cancer. I can name twenty women I know who have had breast cancer. Does this mean women of my acquaintance are particularly susceptible? No, it's just a meaningless series of cases, anecdotal evidence of nothing whatsoever. This article is the same. Conservapedia really is a parody of itself! Humblpi 17:20, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Folks, your objections are incoherent. The incidence of breast cancer in the Hollywood culture can and should be compared to its incidence in the overall population. I realize that deliberate ignorance is a trademark liberal style, but you're in the wrong place if you think you're going to censor attempts to compare those rates. It can and should be done.--Aschlafly 18:19, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
The incidence of breast cancer in the Hollywood culture can and should be compared to its incidence in the overall population. So where is this done? It is simple (the number of Hollywood types that have breast cancer)/(the number of hollywood types) vs. (the number of the overall population that have breast cancer)/(the number of the overall population). You have failed to provide even the simple mean, neverless the variance in order to conduct a hypothesis test. DanielB 18:38, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
DanielB, you're correct, but that's not all - you would also need to conduct a Chi-Squared Test on the result to see whether or not the variance in the data actually had any statistical significance. Different values are not necessarily statistically significant. There is no valid or relevant statistical analysis in this article, none whatsoever. StatsFan 18:44, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
When the rates are vastly different, as in the case of lung cancer and cigarettes, conclusions can and should be drawn immediately based on the vast differences in the rates. Of course further investigation is welcome, but unlikely to alter the obvious conclusion.--Aschlafly 18:58, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Vastlty different rates could be the result of the variance of your sample. Your sample size might be too small to draw conclusions or as StatsFan said it might not be significant. Andy you should research statistical hypothesis testing of Student and Fisher instead of being deliberalty ignorant of them. DanielB 19:03, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
See my reply to the more intelligent comments by Murray above.--Aschlafly 19:35, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
What does by a factor of 2 mean? Do you mean a probabilty of less than 2% that the difference in means is a result of random sampling? As you have failed to establish a population size, how do you know the degrees of freedom of your t-distribution? You appear to have a vague understanding of statistic hypothesis testing without any actual working knowledge of how it works. DanielB 20:42, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Question / Cause

Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering what you're postulating is the cause of this apparent epidemic of breast cancer amongst the women of the entertainment industry. A paragraph or two regarding possible causation might help to round out the article.--RossC 09:04, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Based on this, perhaps Hollywood values encompass poor eating habits and abortions as well. Feebasfactor 13:18, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Those who don't have an open mind about a glaring 5-10x increase in breast cancer incidence in the Hollywood community are not likely to have an open mind about causation. The cancer deniers could make a bundle working for the tobacco industry, however.--Aschlafly 13:31, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
From a factor of 2 to 5 to 10 times increase. These numbers are incredible and would be very impressive if you had any data what so ever to back this up. You have done no statistical analysis all you have done is make up "ballpark" numbers which suit your hypothesis. Get some data, analyse it and submit it to a medical journal if this as rock solid as you say. Otherwise there is no "mystery cause of Hollywood breast cancer" as you have failed to establish it is any higher than you might expect in the general population. DanielB 02:01, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

So was I... on the right track then? I'd like to think I was being open-minded about causation by considering possible factors, but perhaps I've missed it anyway. :( Feebasfactor 18:01, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Geez, Andy, you're not going soft on us, are you? I don't think you've ever censored yourself before in deference to the closed-minded. Would you mind if I worked up a paragraph on causation, or would you rather just skip it? (I don't want to step on your toes) --RossC 14:18, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
RossC, I can't tell if you're serious or not. If you're serious, then please try to improve the entry. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 16:00, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
I am indeed serious (but don't fret--I get that a lot). I'll whip up a paragraph on possible causation when I have a bit more time (tomorrow, hopefully).--RossC 13:13, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
You probably "get that a lot" because most of your edits, like your recent one on the Main Page, are not to be taken seriously. Try some substantive edits. You'll benefit yourself.--Aschlafly 14:27, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Your argument is hardly convincing. AdenJ 13:53, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

This does seem like a story that's not being covered in the MSM, and I think you've uncovered a real 'sleeper' news story with this original research. Do you have a press agent who can help you publicize it - can you get this into the news 'wires'? I'm sure various Hollywood press organs would be VERY interested in this story - why don't you try and get this to the LA Times, or Variety, or the Hollywood Reporter? This is Front Page material! RobCross 14:07, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Please tell them for us, RobCross. As you can see, the liberals are not happy about this, which means the publications you cite will not publish it.--Aschlafly 16:00, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, maybe you should submit it to JPANDS. Murray 11:00, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Aschlafly, its not that 'liberals are unhappy with this' hence it wont get published any where. Its that if you tried to publish this you'd get laughed at because your methodology is so poor. If the was a causation somewhere do you really think you'd be the first person to spot it? AdenJ 23:41, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Ah, there's that liberal over-reliance on mockery, point 25 of liberal style. You follow your style book well, AdenJ. Fortunately, not everyone is afraid of being "laughed at," particularly when the mockery is done to conceal causation of a deadly disease. It's not very funny when you realize what you're trying to conceal.--Aschlafly 23:56, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Ahhhhh, again Aschlafly you dont know anything at all about me so I wouldn't throw around the liberal rubbish. Not that I have to prove anything to you however I will advise that in my countrys elections I vote for the right. Anyways my point is that this 'article' is not all convincing to anyone. AdenJ 00:00, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

What is the hypothesis about causation? Murray 23:57, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, if you wouldn't mind... would you like to pose a possible hypothesis as to what causes this apparent increased rate of breast cancer in Hollywood? What do you think is the explanation to this mystery? I've taken a guess already, although I don't know if I'm on the right track. Feebasfactor 23:17, 8 May 2008 (EDT)
Oh, nevermind... I see it was apparently solved after all. Feebasfactor 15:58, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Other factors and questions

I would first like to ask if 'Hollywood' is appropriate in the title. How many of these are Hollywood stars? Soap operas, British singers, etc. Shirley Temple retired from movies at 21 in 1949. She had been out of Hollywood for 20 years when she was diagnosed. And is 40 'young'? That also brings up the time frame question - does including a person who was diagnosed with cancer about 40 years ago fit in with trying to correlate it with people from today?

There is also the question of diagnosis. Early diagnosis is the key to identifying and surviving a battle with cancer. People who are wealthy tend to go to the doctor more often, routine check ups and preventive care rather than going to the emergency room. The people listed tend to be in the upper end of the pay spectrum and thus would go to and have access to better medical resources. As such, they would detect cancer at a younger age than those that don't have access to these resources.

The Mayo clinic suggests starting breast self exams at age 20.[4] I am curious if the women here would speak up about the age they started doing breast self exams and the age range that their doctors have informed them that breast cancer can develop along with the risk factors.

Another important factor is identifying family history. Do any of these individuals have a family history of cancer that would make them predisposed to it?

There is also the selection of data. Actresses are famous and everything they do or is done to them tends to find itself in the media. These are the things one would read at a supermarket check out (why is it even here - isn't it the liberal media and National Enquirer that is supposed to have an obsession with celebrities?). This ignores the millions of non-newsworthy men and women and the chances that they get cancer. The young woman down the street who is fighting breast cancer - thats not news and so it doesn't show up beyond a number somewhere. It is just easier to find a list and news reports of famous people.

If there is any statistical significance of this, the math should be shown by the person making the claim. --Rutm 14:34, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

The rates of breast cancer by age in the general population are well-known, and the rates in Hollywood are 5-10x times higher. You don't work for tobacco companies, do you? We don't need to deny the obvious and await 30 more years of censorship.--Aschlafly 16:04, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Could you point to any study or news article akin to [5]? Have you ruled out other known risk factors? Where is the data to support this? I would be interested to see the data (rather than an list of 20 singers, actresses, and notables that at some time resided in Los Angeles) that supports the assertion. --Rutm 16:11, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
I don't think that Mr Schlafly has to eliminate other risk factors. The claim is only that breast cancer is more prevalent amongst young 'Hollywood types' than others, not that the state of being a 'Hollywood type' causes breast cancer. He doesn't even claim that this this difference is statistically significant. To establish his claim all he has to do is come up with clear definitions of 'Hollywood type' and 'young', determine the size of this group (presumably fewer than the 546,969[6] actresses in the imdb database), take a representative sample thereof, determine the rate of early breast cancer within that group and compare it to the general population. --Jalapeno 17:24, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
If anyone would like to work from some data - [7] has a table for breast cancer deaths by county in California. Orange county slightly above the mean in California for incidence, but is certainly not at the top of the list. I have yet to see any data suggesting the National Cancer Institutes's data is incorrect. --Rutm 17:28, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Liberal Denial

The above liberal denials are almost as interesting as the entry itself. Observe how no one objected to "Rutm"s observation that breast cancer deaths are higher in Orange County, yet every liberal here objected to the possibility that breast cancer rates are higher among Hollywood types. Ever here the expression "he protests too much"? It applies with full force here. There is nothing logical to the protests above, which merely underscores how important it is to publicize this information. The more it is irrationally denied, the more persuasive it becomes.--Aschlafly 20:49, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy: (a) Hollywood isn't in Orange County. LA County is below the state average, according to Rutm's link. Even if it were higher, that says nothing about the rate in Hollywood, or among "Hollywood types". (b) Some of the comments above may be a bit strident. However, they raise challenges that haven't been answered. If you want to make this case, it would be better to show your methods and to actually do the math. The current approach is not convincing to those who understand statistics. Murray 21:47, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy the protest above are not about your conclusions they are about your compelete lack of data. What you are lacking is data. Rutm's observations are valid because they are based on data, something you lack. DanielB 22:08, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
Murray and DanielB miss the point. I don't think we've seen such emotional denials of a health problem since the tobacco executives denied their products cause cancer, and they kept insisting on more and more and more data. The odds of finding three women victimized by breast cancer in their 20s is astronomically small, and requires a very large population sample. Three examples from the small community of Hollywood, along with many other striking examples of young breast cancer victims, suggests a problem.
However, judging by the emotional denials, it's clear your minds are not open about this. You're not investigating further yourself; instead, the deniers are resorting to put-downs (e.g., "not convincing to those who understand statistics"). As is said, "you protest too much."--Aschlafly 22:15, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
Is it a small community? Do you have the exact number of people in this community or do you just have this strange 100-200 numbers from nowhere? You are making numbers up on gut instinct and calling it a sample. You would not get an arguement if you even had properly collected statistics.
As for the tabbaco companies thay argued that correlation dose not equal causation. Something you yourself argued on many occasion, because it is true. Life expectancy goes up with the rate of TV ownership in a country, would you advocate giving third world nations TVs to increase there lifespan? DanielB 22:33, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
Demanding scientific evidence and accurate statistics is not protesting too much, it is common sense. AndrasK 22:22, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

The put-downs are on both sides, Andy ("emotional denial", "your minds are not open"). How about a compromise - if you will explain how you derived your sample size, a productive discussion can take place about whether or not this indicates an increased risk of breast cancer. Also, did you note above that the breast cancer rate in the county that Hollywood is in is actually lower than the state average? Murray 22:42, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

My comments are not put-downs in the same sense as yours. Observing that a denial is emotional is not bullying, for example.
Let's see if any of the deniers here will admit that, yes, it is quite possible that breast cancer incidence is higher in the Hollywood community than the general population. It's irrational if that admission is not forthcoming. (By the way, the physical county in which the town of Hollywood is located is obviously irrelevant because the issue is the lifestyle.)--Aschlafly 22:54, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
I disagree that your comments are not put-downs in the same sense, but we can disagree there. I apologize for the comment. I pointed out that Hollywood is not in Orange County because your comment above used the rate in Orange County to support your argument. Sure, I will happily admit that it is possible that the breast cancer rate in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles is higher than in the general population. It would be a powerful statement if it could be shown, given that the rate in all of LA County is lower than the rest of the state. However, I am not convinced by the arguments currently put forth here. As I mentioned above, it would be helpful to explain your methods, particularly the method for determining the size of the sample. It would also be useful to define "Hollywood types", because it appears that many of those in the list, including 1 in the under 30 section, did not live in Hollywood. Research in any field is heavily dependent on explanations of how variables were defined and measured, and on descriptions of how the sample was derived and who it was composed of. Murray 23:15, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
I also happily admit that "it is quite possible that breast cancer incidence is higher in the Hollywood community than the general population", and I'd be very happy to see Aschlafly's hypothesis proven, or disproven, or indeed to see any meaningful data one way or the other. My objection to this sort of pseudo-science is not emotional, and does not represent liberal or any other sort of denial. It's simply that the "conclusion" does not arise from any data. It's a misuse of epidemiological and statistical methods, an appeal to "science" merely to support a prejudice. For a start, you cannot make any comment on prevalence without first defining the population you are using as the denominator. I suggest that should be the first step. If you then ask a suitable question, and apply suitable methods to answer that question, that would be a couple more steps in the right direction. And if you can find anything that suports the contention that breast cancer is more prevalent among "Hollywood types" I'm sure even the "liberal medical journals" would be very interested in the study. Humblpi 01:38, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Mr.Schlafly, we will happily admit that breast cancer might be higher in 'Hollywood' - if you can show that is the case, it is certainly really interesting, and some decent , substantiated research with figures you can stand over would make for a really major news story - and your work would be celebrated. '"Women working in the entertainment industry develop breast cancer at a much higher rate than normal'" is indeed headline news. We can help you to make a rock-solid case. Here's how to make your case watertight:

1. Define the population. It seems you're not really intending Hollywood to be a geographical term here, instead I believe you wish it to refer to 'women between 18-45 working in the entertainment business' - regardless of physical location. Nothing wrong with this so far, that's a perfectly reasonable population to analyse. Please correct my definition if you you think I'm paraphrasing you incorrectly.
2. Determine the size of that population. This is where it starts to get tricky. A global figure for young women between the ages of 18-45 could be estimated easily enough, but the number of people involved in the entertainment business may be harder to determine. Do you wish your research to include, for example, hairdressers, make-up artists, production designers and art directors, as they would all work with the actors and singers and presumably work in a similar 'moral milleu'. One problem here is that these women would typically work in the presence of chemicals, some of which may or may not be carcinogenic, which would need to be factored into the equations. Another issue is - where does one include women from? Are young Chinese actresses as likely to succumb to the perceived 'moral milleu' of the film business of Hong Kong (not known for its strict moral code either). Might they be similarly affected? What about Indian girls in Bollywood? I notice that you are including Australians and UK residents, but what about French, German, Italians, etc?
3. Assuming you can eventually determine the total size of the population, then determine the rates of breast cancer in that total population. This will be difficult, lengthy research, but it should be possible. It would likely take many years of research though, as you will require data from health monitoring organizations around the globe.
4. Now factor in family medical histories, ethnic predispositions, working conditions, lifetime exposure to carcinogens, birth patterns, etc - and filter your data for these.
5. Compare the breast cancer rates of your study to the breast cancer rates of the global population in general. Again, this shouldn't be too hard.
6. Test any differences in your discovered cancer rates for statistical significance. Where you discover a trend, dig deeper into that data to ensure you are correct.
7. Publish, and celebrate good research!

Your hypothesis is interesting, but as yet unproven. But if we can be of any assistance, let us know. StatsFan 11:58, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Reply to the above

First, Murray, the popular term "Hollywood" refers to an industry, not a place. Yes, I know, there is a small town called "Hollywood", but that is not what anyone means when they speak of the culture, lifestyle, values and industry of "Hollywood", as we are here. I'm astonished, frankly, that you take such a narrow, literal meaning of the word.

Second, I'm gratified to have wrestled out an admission for all here that, yes, Hollywood types may have higher and younger incidence of breast cancer than the general population. So why all the fuss? Read the comments above and anyone objective would see a determination to censor a discussion and investigation of something that all now admit is quite possible.

Third, looking at the data from a small population of successful, performing female pop singers, who number no more than 100, the rate of young breast cancer is astounding and many times, even orders of magnitude, higher than the rate in the general population. It's unmistakable.

Fourth, there are medical reasons why one would expect, without seeing any data, that Hollywood actresses would have higher rates of breast cancer. An astute, objective observer would expect it without seeing a single patient or reviewing data about a single case.--Aschlafly 14:08, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, I interpreted your reference to the "small community" as referring to the town itself. Apparently I misinterpreted. Nobody is attempting to censor any discussion. I am in fact trying to have a discussion. I will ask again, would you please explain the methods that you used to derive these numbers, particularly the sample sizes but also the number of cancer diagnoses? If you are correct, there is nothing to lose, and you can only gain from being transparent. I have my doubts as to whether the population is truly as small as you say. However, if you can show that it is, then your hypothesis is correct. This is a matter of statistics, not of ideology. An intro stats text will go into detail about why it is important to be clear and detailed about methodology, and that is what is missing here.
Out of curiosity, what are those medical reasons? Regardless of what one would expect, one needs to show that the data back up the expectation.
Finally, the "fuss" is not about the possibility. It is about making a claim and showing data that are not clear. It's possible that any community has a higher rate of breast cancer. Ashkenazi Jewish women, for example, are at greater risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that are associated with breast cancer. But we know that because clear, detailed data have been published. Murray 14:19, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Mr.Schlafly, regarding your points:
  • First, yes, I understand you are referring to an industry and not a geographic location. There's nothing inherently wrong about you attempting to do so. Except that if you are defining it so, you need to define the 'what', 'how' and 'where' of that industry. Geographical locations make research easy, as essentially you can simply start by analysing data within US zip codes. But defining members of an industry is hard, particularly since the industry is global, and contains many people in many roles. Sadly, the UN, WHO, or any other organization doesn't break out its health, age, income, etc statistics into 'pop singers' and 'actresses', so we must instead do the work ourselves. So - how do you intend to define your population?
  • Secondly, it is one thing to admit that a possibility exists. But is entirely another to admit that that possibility is indeed the case. Would you be prepared to admit that web workers like yourself are more prone to testicular cancer? If I can find thirty people who work on the web and have testicular cancer, will you believe me? It may be so, and of course it's possible, but IS it so? Only proper research can tell. But if I claim it, you have every right to disagree with me.
  • Thirdly, here is where I must begin to disagree with you, and for very simply reasons. No, it is NOT possible to make assumptions based upon a non-random data set comprising members you have selected who have shown the condition. The population sample you provide is statistically biased, as it is non-random, and therefore does not properly represent the total population - all actresses and pop stars, including those who both do and do not have breast cancer. You have selected it to only include actresses and pop singers with breast cancer. This sample does not include the very many pop singers and actresses who did not develop breast cancer. This common mistake has a name in statistical analysis, and is referred to as 'Selection Bias'. Using the same method, I could equally list twenty CEO's of technology companies who are bald and claim that being a CEO causes baldness. But it would not make it true. I refer you to the famous 'joke' statistic that the rise and fall of the population of penguins in the Arctic is extremely tightly correlated with the UK Conservative party holding Government office (or Arts funding - the stories vary). These examples and others are used to show that Correlation never automatically implies Causation. As a result of your selection bias, it is false to say that your conclusion "is unmistakeable" - though it doesn't for a second mean we shouldn't investigate your claim.
  • Finally, what are those medical reasons? What is your proposed theory of causation?' Why would an acute observer expect it? If you can be a little more clear, it would help.
Your case remains completely unproven speculation, but is nevertheless interesting. StatsFan 14:31, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Mathematical Outline for such a theory

If I understand your theory correctly, the maths for your theory would work as follows (please correct me if I am wrong):

First, evaluate Global Breast Cancer Incidence in the Control Population, i.e. the 'world at large':
A=Global Population of women aged 18-45
B=Total number of women belonging to Set A diagnosed with breast cancer
B/A = Y (Average Global percentage of breast cancer incidence in young women aged 18-45)

Note that since our hypothesis is that 'Hollywood' or 'lifestyle values' are what we are testing for (since we assume you don't intend to prove that there are, for example, more carcinogens in movie trailers than elsewhere), it would be important to exclude from 'B' those breast cancers caused by hereditary, environmental factors and other non-lifestyle factors.

Next, evaluate 'Hollywood' Breast Cancer Incidence:
W=Global population of Actresses and Pop Singers aged 18-45
X=Global population of Actresses and Pop Singers aged 18-45 diagnosed with breast cancer
X/W = Z (Average Global percentage of breast cancer in 'Hollywood' women)

(From this data set, we would also have to exclude those 'non-lifestyle' breast cancers as above).

If Z > Y, and passes the Chi Square Test, you're definitely onto something, and quite likely a large amount of funding would immediately be available for further research. But with A, B, W and X as yet undefined, as here, we don't have proof yet of the trend. But at least we have defined the numbers we are looking for, and we can continue to study your theory. StatsFan 17:57, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Your symbols add nothing here, and your conclusion that "quite likely a large amount of funding would immediately be available for further research" is absurd. The same hysterically liberal reaction posted on this talk page by others above would great any application for funding of this hypothesis. Such application would find the trashcan before a closed-minded recipient looked beyond its first page.
That is all the more amusing when one realizes that there is a fundamental reason why Hollywood types must have higher breast cancer incidence than the general public. Get past the symbols and look at this with an open mind, and you'll see it too.--Aschlafly 19:51, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
If you disagree with the methodology described above, what mathematical methodology do you instead propose? And what is this "fundamental reason" you refer to? I'm just curious as to how to prove this hypothesis. StatsFan 19:54, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
I don't object to the methodology, but I don't think it adds anything meaningful to the issue. If I asked whether a pitcher of unknown name who has thrown at least three no-hitters should likely be in the Hall of Fame, your methodology is not going help answer the statistical question.--Aschlafly 20:00, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
The methodology allows other people to reproduce it and not require having an open mind or a statement from an authority. In making the claim "Hollywood types have higher breast cancer incidence than the general public" you are making a statement that can be tested. Thus, people want to know how you came to that conclusion and how to test it for themselves so they can see if it is true or not. --Rutm 20:03, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
OK, great - we're on the same path then! I'm delighted we can see eye-to-eye on something at last. As to your analogy, it is interesting, but kind of irrelevant to this discussion. So, if you agree with the math, then let's get to work!
We know that C = approx. 1 in 93, from the NCI figures. But those numbers refer to all women below 45. The rate for women between 18-45 would be higher, we could make a reasonable guess at, say, 1 in 70 (since the rate for women below 50 is 1 in 50). And you suggest a rate that is an order of magnitude higher than normal, correct? That would be, say, 1 in 7. Now, we need to establish the value of both W and X, the total population of women 18-45 who are in the entertainment business, and those within that population who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. How do we obtain those numbers? StatsFan 20:08, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Do note that this is the number of women in the entertainment business at some point in their lives (Shirley Temple was retired from the industry for 20 years when she was diagnosed) over the past 80 years (Shirley Temple was born in 1928). This would include singers (country? bluegrass? pop? rock? musicals? vaudeville?), actresses (stage? TV? movies?). Also be sure to include people from around the world in this - Australian soap opera star, Puerto Rican actress, Norwegian actress. It would help to know what the hypothesis being tested is beyond the vague "people in entertainment." --Rutm 20:28, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, I have 2 questions for you. First, will you share your methods for determining the size of the sample and the number of cases? Second, what is your hypothesis as to causality? Thanks. Murray 20:35, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

REPLY TO THE ABOVE: We have the data that we have. We don't have a double-blind controlled study of millions of subjects. We never will. Smokers went 100 years without the kind of study the naysayers demand here. Does that mean no one could conclude that smoking causes lung cancer? Of course not. Watch your relatives who smoke drop dead and then don't ignore it. Ditto here for breast cancer and Hollywood. Tobacco companies to this day claim the studies are inclusive and more studies are needed. If determined enough, one can often claim that. The more interesting -- and more important -- challenge is to draw the conclusions that can be drawn from the data that are available. Look at the very small population of pop female singers and breast cancer incidence, open your minds, and don't deny something that has deadly consequences.--Aschlafly 20:45, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

I take it you are refusing to share your methods, though it would be nice if you would just say that. We have the data that we have. True enough, but you're the only one who knows what it looks like. Murray 21:16, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Mr.Schalfly, you keep suggesting that people are somehow disagreeing about the deadly risks of tobacco, but no-one is - they are incontestable, and the CEO's of tobacco companies, and their lawyers, just look utterly foolish as they make their arguments that they are not deadly. But this thesis of yours, to be similarly incontestable, needs to be have solid reasoning behind it. I doubt you'd disagree with that? For example, if you are suggesting that approximately 1 in 7 is the risk factor for women between 18-45 in the 'Hollywood' industry, and you have listed 20 individuals, are you suggesting that the total population of 'Hollywood' types is really just 140 women? I'm simply trying to get to the bottom of the maths. StatsFan 20:55, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

One other note - the point you make about "watch your smoker relatives drop dead" is an excellent example of selective sampling. I had two uncle's who smoked until they died in their nineties, neither of smoking-related illnesses. It doesn't prove for a moment though that smoking does not kill - it simply shows the effects of selective bias. StatsFan 20:59, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

StatsFan, of course counterexamples (your uncles) do not disprove causation. But examples often do indicate causation when it is a rarely expected phenomenon.
Again, I ask you: is it likely that an unnamed pitcher who threw three no-hitters had an overall career worthy of the Hall of Fame? That is a statistical question that you should be able to answer, but your incessant demand for more data is not going to help you solve it. There is no further specific data to be disclosed in that question, nor is additional data necessary to answer it.--Aschlafly 21:19, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
I am indeed confused by your metaphor. For me to know the answer to that I would need to know if it was common for a pitcher to throw three no-hitters, and if many Hall f Famers had thrown three no-hitters? If I'm correct (and I apologize if I am confused by your analogy), you are suggesting that since the data you present is 'obvious', then young Hollywood women do indeed contract breast cancer at higher rates, yes? StatsFan 21:24, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
StatsFan, the only info you need is the obvious one that no more than a few no-hitters occur each baseball season.
More generally, note that if you confine yourself to well-funded studies, then you limit yourself to what the funders of those studies want for their money. I'm interested in going outside of the narrow sphere of funded studies and looking at real-world data to draw important conclusions that no one is willing to fund and advertise.--Aschlafly 21:48, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Then let's look at the data. Refusal to allow your conclusions to be examined (which is the effect of hiding your methods) suggests something to hide. In addition to knowing the frequency of no hitters, it would be important to know the number of games pitched. That's the piece that we're missing here. Murray 23:04, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

But how many is 'a few' no-hitters? More than three, less than three? The answer affects whether they get into the Hall of Fame or not! As for going straight to real-world data, that's totally fine with me - I encourage you to go beyond the regular data, and I'll help. But wherever we get the data from, we STILL need to know two numbers:
A) Total number of young women between 18-45 in the 'Hollywood' business globally; and
B) Total number of those women who have contracted breast cancer.
Am I correct? StatsFan 22:11, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
This obviously does require orignal research as no one has so far put up a study that is already done. If you are as you say "interested in going outside of the narrow sphere of funded studies and looking at real-world data to draw important conclusions" then that is what need to do, but this is the problem. You have a list of some names, what you don't have is
  1. A working definition of 'Hollywood types'
  2. The number of women in the age range you are interested in that meet your definition of Hollywood type.
  3. The number of women in the age range you are interested in your definition of Hollywood type who have had breast cancer.
If you had these three things then you would be able to do the test discribed above and be able to draw importatnt conclusions. All you have now is your list, some rather arbitrary and vague numbers, which to be honest, you just made-up based on what you think is right and a hypothesis which is testable which you have not done. DanielB 23:55, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Why doesnt Aschlafly answer these simple questions? AdenJ 01:47, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

The answer is obvious. He cannot. Or perhaps he will, after he makes up some "Schlafly statistics."--Whorton 22:07, 8 May 2008 (EDT)


One issue that I don't see addressed explicitly enough above (though I may have missed it, in which case apologies) is that of bias. I'll pick out just two sources of bias that (as far as I can see) completly undermine the article:

  1. What is the source of information on breast cancer cases among "Hollywood types"? It comes from the media, and is therefore heavily influenced by the Hollywood publicity machine and the priorities of the newspapers, TV channels, etc. The control group (the rest of the world, other female residents of California, whatever) is not subject to the same influences. Nobody reports a story about "32-year-old housewife dies of breast cancer". The only way to do this comparison is to ignore all information that comes from the media, and use an equivalent data source - which I guess means official epidemiological data - for both Hollywood and control groups.
  2. The selection of cases in the "Hollywood" group is subject to serious selection bias, because a woman of roughly the right age and roughly the right profession is assigned to the group after (and perhaps, one suspects, because of) the diagnosis. You must first define the population (the denominator) and then look to see how many of those who are in that population have the condition (the numerator).

I'd be very interested to see (a) the hypothetical causal link between a high incidence of breast cancer and "Hollywood" and (b) some proper data, properly gathered and analysed. Insistence that "it's obvious", and labeling those who ask for evidence as "liberals", is no substitute for a solid hypothesis, hard data, and a proper analysis. Humblpi 06:05, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

Actually HumblePi is on to another problem that has been overlooked. You should start by defining 'Hollywood Types' before you collect your data not afterwards. DanielB 21:35, 8 May 2008 (EDT)
Actually, DanielB, that's not quite true - Mr.Schlafly has agreed that the Control Population is defined as "Global Women 18-45", and the study population is "Global Women 18-45 who are Performers in the Entertainment Business and have been diagnosed with breast cancer", but he has not yet provided figures for the former population - either we are waiting for him to provide these figures, or we are expected to calculate them, I'm not sure. He has however, provided us with the second population, a total of 20 women. However, I believe he needs to be a little more precise, as we need to more clearly define when these women were diagnosed, how far back in time we must do this study, how long they must have been in the business for, and a few other conditions. We also need a little more information from his as to his theory of causation - I think the suggestion is that somehow 'lifestyle' are involved, in which case we'll need to filter the Control Population for these lifestyle traits - and it's hard to do so without the details of what it is about the lifestyle we are to investigate. Mr.Schlafly? StatsFan 22:40, 8 May 2008 (EDT)
No – the study population cannot have “and have been diagnosed with breast cancer” as part of its definition. You must determine a study population and a control population before you look for breast cancer cases, and both groups must include women who may or may not have BC. The study population is “women in the entertainment industry,” or “Hollywood women.” Humblpi 05:55, 9 May 2008 (EDT)


Folks, the comments above are long on talk and insults and short on insights. If none of the above naysayers are even willing to figure out why Hollywood types are expected to have higher incidence of breast cancer without even having to look at any data, then I'm wasting my time on this page.

In response to the request for a population, by the way, simply take the roughly 100 or so female pop singers (which I think I suggested before).--Aschlafly 23:13, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

It's not legitimate to take those 100 without knowing how the number was determined. Why the reluctance to clarify? And the cause is completely orthogonal to the question of whether the rate is elevated. Murray 23:48, 8 May 2008 (EDT)
I’m sorry, Aschlafly, but I really have no idea what you mean. What is obvious? Why do you expect Hollywood types to have a higher incidence of breast cancer? But in any case (as Murray says), the hypothetical causal link is completely irrelevant to the study methods. And you have presented no data that provide any evidence whatsoever whether the incidence in Hollywood is higher, lower, or the same as that in the global population. Various people have pointed out flaws in the methodology. If you are not prepared to accept the help that is being offered, that's a pity. The Trustworthy Encyclopedia really should use trustworthy methods in its analysis. Humblpi 05:56, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
It seems to me, (and forgive me if I'm wrong), but besides all of these young(ish) women being in show business (Hollywood-types) and being victims of breast cancer, thay all (must have) put their careers before the thought and "action" of having a family. It is a well known factor in risk assessment for BC that delaying childbirth or having an abortion has the likely but (of course) unsought side-effect of breast cancer. The woman so situated usually has the choice to advance her career or start her family but (often) the one comes at the expense of the other. MargeryCampbell 12:45, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Exactly right. God bless you for stating what should have been obvious to everyone else on this page. All who commented above on this page, please take note of what Margery Campbell (whom I do not know, but am honored to learn from) has just said.--Aschlafly 13:07, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Aschlafly, if what Margery said is what you actually meant then A) Why didnt you just state this a long time ago and avoid wasting your time and B) you just stated you learnt something from her which looks to me like you had no idea in the first place. Seems someone is straining to do some explaining. AdenJ 17:31, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

But that simply doesn't make sense. Of the first five in the list, one is the daughter of an actress, and one had two children in her early 20s. Not that this is even relevant - every time someone points out a flaw in your logic, you move the goalposts.PashaSuez 15:19, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Shirley Temple

I am surprised that Shirley Temple remains to be included given the hypothesis proposed above. She was married at 17, had a daughter at age 19 (January 30, 1948 - Shirley was born April 23, 1928). She then had two more children - April 29, 1952, and April 9, 1954 (aged 24 and 26). It certainly doesn't sound like she was putting off having children nor her family life for her career. Could you please elaborate as to why Shirley Temple fits the hypothetical reasoning? --Rutm 17:54, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Reversion explained

Merely having a relative who suffered from breast cancer does not explain a diagnosis at the young age of 31. As you can see from our entry on breast cancer, one relative having had the disease is not dispositive. Something like 90% of breast cancer cases are not explained by family history.--Aschlafly 18:16, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

OK, but then what is the theory here? Because since most of these women did indeed have children, I can't see what the connections are to the theory? GaryK 18:34, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Reread what Margery Campbell said. It's not difficult to understand, and no subsequent comments have contradicted it.--Aschlafly 20:06, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
If it's that airtight, I would think it would be time to publish it somewhere other than here. Where are you going to send it? Murray 20:45, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
There's no need to publish it anywhere other than here. This site has an audience that is larger than most journals. If you take comfort in the censorship exercised by some liberals, like that illustrated above, that comfort is misplaced and anachronistic. The truth is available from this site for those who seek it, and for those who do not seek the truth it may not matter to them anyway.--Aschlafly 20:55, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

You know it occured to me Aschlalfy that when you are using the '100 or so singers' as an example you need to remove people like shirley temple from the list. You cant use her in relation to todays singers! AdenJ 21:00, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

MR.Schlafly, please don't keep creating new sections, as the conversation starts to spread, and it seems you didn't read my comments from the section above, which I've now moved here for clarity:

Actually, Minnie Riperton had two children; Anastacia was the child of an entertainer and an actress; Soraya's mother herself had breast cancer (a cancer known to be strongly hereditary); Aisha Bicknell, daugther of an actress; Ann Jillian had a son; Amanda Mealing has two sons; Kylie Minogue is the daughter of an entertainer; Kate Jackson has a son; Jill Eikenberry has two children; Cynhtia Nixon has two children; Edie Falco is the daughter of an actress; Melissa Etheridge is gay; Julie Ege has two daughters; Shirley Temple had three children: Olivia Newton-John has a daughter; Sheryl Crow is the daughter of musicians.
It seems none of these individuals fit the thesis that is proposed here, and this 'mystery' seems like it doesn't exist, unless some better examples that fir the theory can be found. I vote for deletion unless the argument can be made in some sensible way that is not "because someone says it is so". GaryK 16:22, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Re. Margery Campbell's theory, I'm afraid that for your theory to be valid, the women listed here would have to be childless, which is not true in most of the cases, as I've pointed out above. In fact, the cases listed in this article could not seem to have less relevance to such a theory, and without a shadow of a doubt, the case of Soraya needs to be removed, as in her case, it was clearly hereditary. So what is the proposed theory that is so obvious? GaryK 17:50, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Reread what Margery Campbell said. I'm not going to repeat myself again. You have free will to reject logic. None of your information contradicts what Margery Campbell said.--Aschlafly 20:06, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I'll repeat myself here also......Because until M.Campbell was involved you never mentioned this. Aschlafly, if what Margery said is what you actually meant then A) Why didnt you just state this a long time ago and avoid wasting your time and B) you just stated you learnt something from her which looks to me like you had no idea in the first place. Seems someone is straining to do some explaining. AdenJ 22:55, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Margery said that the likly cause of breast cancer was putting of having children to an older age, which is a developing trend right across society. As it is trend across society and not just amongst Hollywood types then this undermine your thesis that breast cancer rates are higher among Hollywood types as the rest of society's breast cancer rates would increase accordingly.
Also in your statement that prompted Margey's comment you said that breast cancer rates where higher amonsgt Hollywood types, something you still haven't yet managed to demonstrate in any statistically significant way.
90% of breast cancers are not family related? Call be cynical but I think you pulled this statistic from the same place you pulled the 5 to 10 times increase than the general population and your 100 pop singers in the world. DanielB 01:40, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Mr.Schlafly, you have an interesting thesis, but you are lacking the following:

a) a data set that is relevant to your thesis b) a defined population c) the research to support your theory d) an understanding of even basic statistical analysis

In short Mr.Schlafly, you have nothing, nothing at all except a hollow vessel, a wisp in the wind, a ship without water to sail upon. But you do still have your interesting theory. If you had properly defined your hypothesis, determined the population, and conducted the tests correctly, I can believe that you may well have a case. But the problem is that this 'article' actually hurts your case terribly as it is so utterly lacking in credibility - and it also destroys any credibility you might have had as an analyst in future because you have chosen to fall upon the argument that is no argument at all - "It is so because I say it is so". Finally, when all you needed to prove your case was a simple, cold analysis of the facts, you instead choose to say "You have free will to reject logic". I - we - all of us who have stood in front of this vestigal edifice of thread and dust, rest our cases. Please delete this mystery without mystery. Good day to you. StatsFan 10:49, 10 May 2008 (EDT)


Since Schlafly has cut and run rather than try to back up his little pet thesis here, can we get this deleted now?--ChandaM 18:03, 17 May 2008 (EDT)

No, we can't. That kind of censorship works on Wikipedia, but not here. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 18:47, 17 May 2008 (EDT)
So that's it, then, is it? You are going to ignore all the helpful statistical advice on the talk page and just let the groundless assertion in the article stand? Up to you. It's your website. Humblpi 05:45, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

I just dont understand why Andy cant answer the simple questions presented? Its his theory. AdenJ 05:47, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

I thought I did answer them, several times in fact. But there is so much talk pollution by liberals here that it is not always easy to find a substantive question. It would help if liberals would curb the excesses on their side to facilitate debate.
Try again with a clear, meaningful question, and I'll address it.--Aschlafly 13:13, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
OK - here is my simple question. Where is the evidence to support the assertion that breast cancer incidence is higher among "Hollywood" women than in a general population of age-matched controls? Humblpi 13:27, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
The evidence is most striking with female rock stars. Estimate the size of that population (perhaps 50) and look at how many have been stricken by breast cancer at a young age. If they were working in a coal mine and you saw the same data, would you brush it off and ignore it? I wouldn't.--Aschlafly 13:53, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
Sorry. I asked for evidence, and you reply with nothing more than an assertion. I am quite prepared to believe that it might be so, but there is nothing to demonstrate whether it is or not. You present no evidence that the incidence is unusually high. How is the study population defined, and how big is it, and what is is the incidence of breast cancer? What is the control group, and how does the incidence there compare with that in the study population? And how do you control for biases such as reporting bias? It's an interesting idea, and deserves proper study, but without such a study you simply have no grounds for the assertion. Humblpi 14:02, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
You wrote, "You present no evidence that the incidence is unusually high." Did you look at the list??? I'm sorry, but I want to see some "evidence" that you're looking at this with an open mind before I waste more time discussing it with you.--Aschlafly 14:33, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
Yes, an absolutely open mind. And yes, I have looked at the list. It is just that, a list. I could make a similar list of women of my acquaintance who have suffered from breast cancer, and it would produce an apparently high incidence (I won't right now go into the reasons why it would appear high, but I could do so if you really want to know) — but it would be meaningless. There is no defined study population, no defined control group, no stipulated method for gathering the data, no apparent attempt to take account of the biases inherent in compiling such a list. There is much detailed commentary on some of the statistical pitfalls and problems above, from various people, and I will not repeat it all here. What it comes down to is this: A statement that "Group X is particularly prone to develop problem Y" can only be made if the data are gathered by proper methods, and subjected to proper statistical analysis. You show neither adequate data collection nor adequate data analysis, and therefore have no evidence worthy of the name. I am quite open to the possibility that Hollywood women have a higher than normal incidence of cancer, and I can even think of some reasons why it might be so, but I see nothing to persuade me that it is so. The apparent high incidence looks much more like an artifact. Humblpi 14:50, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

It does indeed seem as if this entire article contravenes Conservapedia Commandment No.1- "Everything you post must be true and verifiable". BenG 19:17, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

I think the problem here is verifying Mr. Schlafly's estimation of the number of female popular musicians under 30. He says there are 50, but I'm wondering how accurate that figure is. If we can ascertain the number that qualify under whatever parameters are set, and then figure out how many of those have developed breast cancer, we will have some solid preliminary figures to work with, which can at least set up a hypothesis, though we will still be short of having a final scientific result. If the numbers are indeed higher than the overall population (which we have solid figures for, I believe) then there may well be something to this. It would at least qualify as the stated "mystery". DonaldG 19:56, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Humblpi, what evidence would you consider significant? If 10x the expected cancer rate is not alarming to you, what would you require? 100x? There isn't going to be a formal, double blind study, nor does there have to be if the expected incidence is exceeded by a high enough factor. Demanding a formal study is like the tobacco companies demanding more, and more, and more studies before admitting the obvious, as the tobacco companies did for decades as they continued to cause the deaths of millions.--Aschlafly 22:50, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

I think you misunderstand my objections. Of course 10x the expected cancer rate would be alarming. But the quality of the evidence is judged not on the significance (or magnitude) of the results but on the reliability of the methods used to gather those results, and I'm afraid you have no clear methods at all. I am referring to proper epidemiological evidence, gathered by proper methods and properly analysed. And of course a randomised double-blind study would not be appropriate - that's not the right study design for this sort of question. What is required is a case-control study - exactly the sort of study carried out by Richard Doll, indeed, to demonstrate the tobacco/lung cancer link. Humblpi 02:26, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy, it wouldn't be possible to do a double-blind study. You can't randomly assign anyone to either be a rock star or to get a cancer diagnosis. I can't speak for anyone else I suppose, but I don't think anyone is asking for a formal study. The problem that keeps being raised is the estimate of the denominator, which appears (to me and apparently to others) to be a substantial underestimate; specifically, you haven't explained how you got the number. This is the point of Method sections in research papers - to explain how you did what it is that you did. Without that explanation, no matter how solid your case actually is, you leave yourself open to doubts. Murray 22:57, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
OK, we agree there won't be a double-blind study, or any formal study. But my question remains unanswered: what increase in cancer incidence would you require to admit cause for concern? 100x? 1,000,000x?--Aschlafly 23:01, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Well, you didn't ask me the question, so I didn't realize you wanted me to answer it, but ok. Before I do though, I will say that without a description of the method used, the reader is unable to make any informed judgment about whether there's cause for concern. That done, there are two things that I would want to see. First is whether the effect of Hollywood on breast cancer is statistically significant. Second, I would want to see an effect size. The first indicates the probability that any difference among Hollywood types is due to chance, and the second indicates how big the difference is. Both are needed. If there is a significant difference, but the effect size shows that the risk is (as an example) 2% higher, I wouldn't say that's particularly meaningful. Similarly, if the effect size shows that the risk is 100% higher but the p-value is .5 (ie, 50% chance that it's due to chance), I wouldn't make much of it. On the other hand, if it was significant and the effect size was on the order of a 10% increase in risk or more, I would think of that as meaningful. Notably, if your hypothesis is correct and there is a genuine effect, the effect size is likely to be closer to 10% higher than 100 or even 10x higher. Cancers are mostly determined by multiple risk factors so it's unlikely that one is going to account for all that much variance. Murray 12:32, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Murray, don't presume ASchlafly has no evidence. This is his site, and I'm sure he, more than anyone, is ready with verifiable evidence, just as his Commandment #1 demands. Mr.Schlafly - I'm sure you're about to provide that evidence, and I'm sure you realize that asking rhetorical questions of your interlocutors is not the same as providing the methods behind your theory? EngelUmpocker 23:17, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
I think you misunderstand, Aschlafly. It would indeed be inappropriate to attempt a prospective randomised double-blind study, but that is very far from saying that there should be no formal study of any kind. What is required is some sort of retrospective case-control study. That doesn't mean years of gathering data. In fact, it could be a fairly quick desk study — but what is absolutely critical is that you must follow rigorous methods. Your "unsanswered question" is completely the wrong question, because it focuses on results rather than on methods. The quality of an epidemiological study (or indeed any scientific study) is judged on its methods, not on the magnitude of its results. Any significant (i.e. statistically significant) increase in cancer incidence would be a "cause for concern", but only if it was a real increase, and that means one that has been determined by proper analysis. Humblpi 06:15, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
I think the main problem is the assumption that stars who are diagnoed with breast cancer would try to cover it up. Unlike early stage Parkinson's disease, early stage breast cancer has a much smaller impact (if any) on the ability of a person to appear in a movie. Unlike Parkinson's diease (which cannot be cured) breast cancer can be treated, if the treatment is successful then the star can return to acting/singing, if not then signing a contract will be the least of their worries. So, using the example of Michael J. Fox really doesn't do anything to show that stars with breast cancer would cover it up, unless you've got some cold hard evidence of this then all of the statistics on this page are meaningless. StatsMsn 06:26, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

I don't see a substantiv7:e answer above to the basic question. Did you?

I'll try this way. Suppose a disease has an overall incidence of 1 in 1000. Suppose next that among 50 people who worked in a particular mine, 5 came down with the disease. That is 100 times the expected incidence. Alarming? Or instead mock the person who points that out, and then send more women into the mine?--Aschlafly 16:17, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Was that ("I don't see a substantive answer") addressed to me? I gave a quite clear answer. Murray 00:14, 21 May 2008 (EDT)

I looked again and don't see a clear answer from you, or from Humblpi, StatsMsn, or anyone else here. So I'll ask the "yes" or "no" question one last time here: Suppose a disease has an overall incidence of 1 in 1000. Suppose next that among 50 people who worked in a particular mine, 5 came down with the disease. Do you dismiss the data and continue sending more women into the mine? Yes or no, please.--Aschlafly 18:40, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
ASchlafly, in the case of your hypothetical mine, the answer is an unreserved "of course not". But that is not a valid example, as in your story, you know the "number of women in the mine". In the case of young women in the entertainment business, an estimate of 50 is likely orders of magnitude short of reality - you don't "know the number of women in the mine". However, if you can figure out how many young women are in the entertainment business worldwide, you can contnue to test your thesis. But until then, simply stating "the number of women in the entertainment business worldwide is 50" is not an adequate answer. EngelUmpocker 19:04, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
I appreciate the candor of your response, while disagreeing that the figure of 50 touring female singers between about 22 about 30 is "orders of magnitude short of reality." Do you really think there are 5000 touring female singers between 22 and 30??? I doubt you could name even 50, even after much diligence and full use of the internet. But thanks for your response anyway.
Murray, StatsMsn, and other detractors here, what's your answer to the simple question?--Aschlafly 19:11, 22 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, if you genuinely think that I didn't answer before you either didn't understand or didn't read what I wrote. I explicitly said a 10% increase and a sufficiently low p value. That couldn't be clearer. But fine, I'll do the research for you when I have the time, to clarify that 50 is a gross underestimate. Murray 19:44, 22 May 2008 (EDT)

Murray, EngelUmpocker has answered the simple question. You have not. Do I need to ask it again? "Suppose a disease has an overall incidence of 1 in 1000. Suppose next that among 50 people who worked in a particular mine, 5 came down with the disease. Do you dismiss the data and continue sending more women into the mine? Yes or no, please."--Aschlafly 20:59, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
The rational answer is that it depends on the disease, and the likelihood that it could be related to mining. Based on working in close quarters, 80% of the women working in the same mine could catch the same case of chicken pox, but no one would suggest that mining causes chicken pox. --DinsdaleP 21:26, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
The list given on the previous page includes women being born in the 1940s. Shirley Temple was born in 1928. Going back to touring female singers who were between 22 and 30 with the same range can eaisly get 50 women. And so, as I grab the list I had before... Michelle Phillips, Carole King, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Betty McGlown, Diana Ross, Barbara Martin, Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Lynda Laurence, Scherrie Payne, Susaye Greene, Martha Reeves, Rosalind Holmes, Annette Helton, Gloria Williams, Betty Kelly, Lois Reeves, Sandra Tilley, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Hallwell, Anasol, Carolina la O, Fanny Lu, Carolina Herrera, Shakira, Toto la Momposina, Veronica Orozco -- from just a quick sample of a few 'girl groups', some classic rock and a South American country. --Rutm 19:24, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
I would recommend a look at the list of Female Rock Singers on Wikipedia (please set aside your distaste for that site for this one list - if nothing else, you can deride Wikipedia for being no use for anything other than 'good on rock music'!) - which contains over 400 singers at present. And that's just rock singers. But not Female Heavy Metal singers, which currently has 83 listed. What about jazz singers? Next, we have to include actresses, dancers, etc. EngelUmpocker 19:35, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
Engel, that says more about the quality control on Wikipedia than it does about Hollywood. ChadGreen 20:03, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
No mater whether one has a 'problem' with Wikipedia or not, there's no denying these numbers - I personally know of at least half of them myself. EngelUmpocker 20:08, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
The Wikipedia list is all ages, including many under 22 years old and too young to develop breast cancer yet. The Wikipedia list also includes non-touring singers who would have no reason to disclose breast cancer. And even with that, the list is nowhere near the 5000 you implied.--Aschlafly 20:56, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
I agree that I do not have the age breakdown of that list - and though the info is there, I simply don't have enough free time to do that. So I will freely grant that until someone does that research, we don't exactly know the population size. But let's guess that it's 200 out of the near 500 we see listed - that's not unreasonable. But this is a list of mostly US and UK singers. Where are the comparable lists of Japanese, Croatian and Italian singers, who also no doubt have a tendency to succumb to Hollywood Values? How do we find out about the number of 'young hopefuls' in millions of towns around the world, rehearsing with a band in a garage somewhere, but not famous enough to be listed on Wikipedia, but very likely 'partying' and in the right age range? And that's just rock and pop singers - we haven't covered rappers, actresses or TV 'people' (I'm guessing chat show hosts, weather girls, news readers, etc might be just as susceptible to Hollywood Values?. IMDB lists well over half a million actresses - but again, only a portion of those will be in the right age range. But a very large number will be, as the age range is the functioning age range for most actresses. So while I'm openly admitting all these flaws in my own data, can you at least admit that your guess of 50 is very likely to be orders of magnitude off? That the final numbers could easily be in the thousands or even tens of thousands internationally? As you asked me - yes or no? Is that possible? EngelUmpocker 22:01, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
EngelUmpocker, I have an open mind about this, and don't have any ax to grind. But I don't see the existence of thousands of touring female singers in their 20s. I just don't. The market wouldn't support it. There may be only 50. Or perhaps 100 or 200. But much more than that? I'm open to the possibility, but just don't think it's that many. Even many famous rock bands struggle to have successful tours, and most rock stars seem to be male.
Your comment about playing in garages suggests you don't understand or agree with me about the emphasis on touring singers. Singers who play in garages are not going to have publicity about breast cancer.--Aschlafly 22:40, 22 May 2008 (EDT)
Me too on the open mind - I know I don't have the data, but like you I have a 'hunch' about the numbers, and since our hunches are so different, I want to see if we can find a way to agree on the possible range of numbers if nothing else. Let's look at the phenomenon of 'Girl Groups' just for a moment - all girl pop groups. Spice Girls (5 members), Destiny's Child (3), Dream (4), Play (4), B*Witched (4), Eternal (3), En Vogue (4), SWV (3), Sugar jones (5), No Secrets (5), No Angels (4), Pussycat Dolls (5), Girls Aloud (5), Sugababes (3), Bardot (4), Eden's Crush (5) and The Cheetah Girls (3). A total of 69 young women, successful, all within the age range, and touring. If that's the case with just a few "Western' 'Girl Groups', can you imagine how many more young women around the world are in the business? EngelUmpocker 14:09, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

Indeed it would be alarming. And all the parts are given there - in particular, the size of the population in question. And so we must now find out how many Australian, European, American, Latin American, South American ... singers, day time television stars, actresses, and models at some minimum level of fame (admit it - you don't know who 75% of the people in the list are) there are of various ages over the past 5 decades. At that point you can start looking at how many people are working in that particular mine. I would contend that for the population given that covers the list given, it is in the tens of thousands of people. --Rutm 16:26, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
Aschlafly, your model is perfectly correct, and that would certainly reveal a fundamental problem. However,there's a fundamental difference between your example and your proposed case. In your case, you don't know how many people are 'in the mine'. If there are a hundred times the number of people in the mine than you think, then the problem is a hundred times less severe than you've imagined. And you are simply 'saying' that there's 50 rock singers in the whole world. Since I can think of 50 rock singer girls between the age of 18-45 in the city of Akron, Ohio alone, I think your population estimate is wildly wrong. And if your test population is much bigger, the problem is smaller. At a guess, I would say you re out by at the very least a factor of 1,000. If you want the redaer's here to start listing candidates, we can certainly start doing so, but the list will become very, very long. And then there's actresses. All over the world. JerryMander 16:51, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Working with Mr. Schlafly's 50 under 30 estimate, I've compiled a list of 50 of the best selling female music stars under 30 years old (born after May 1978). This is not an exact list, but all of the following are among the 50 most popular female musicians under 30, and I'm sure well over half of them are indiputable in the current top 50. (No particular order, though obviously some of the biggest are mentioned first):

  1. Britney Spears
  2. Christina Aguilera
  3. Jessica Simpson
  4. Ashlee Simpson
  5. Rihanna
  6. Amy Winehouse
  7. Kelly Clarkson
  8. Lilly Allen
  9. Beyonce Knowles
  10. Kelly Rowland
  11. Michelle Williams
  12. Kate Nash
  13. Hillary Duff
  14. Vanessa Carlton
  15. Michelle Branch
  16. Miley Cyrus
  17. Lindsay Lohan
  18. Vanessa Hudgens
  19. Leann Rimes
  20. Jordan Sparks
  21. Mandy Moore
  22. Mary Kate Olsen
  23. Ashley Olsen
  24. Jamie Lynn Spears
  25. Ashley Tisdale
  26. Pink
  27. Avril Lavigne
  28. Carrie Underwood
  29. Fantasia Barrino
  30. Kellie Pickler
  31. Nelly Furtado
  32. Natasha Bedingfield
  33. Alicia Keyes
  34. Norah Jones
  35. Ashanti
  36. Mya
  37. Kelis
  38. Duffy
  39. Kelly Osbourn
  40. Joss Stone
  41. Tegan Quin
  42. Sara Quin
  43. Colbie Caillot
  44. Cassie
  45. Ciara
  46. Katherine McPhee
  47. Lady Sovereign
  48. Haylie Duff
  49. Sara Barilles
  50. Leona Lewis

So that confirms there are at least 50 popular female pop stars in the genres of rock, pop, and country and in the English speaking world (I'm not going to start looking for young pop stars in China, India, Japan, and other places that I'm sure have many such singers we'll never hear of). All of these, I'm pretty sure, are currently under 30. I don't know of any who have breast cancer, but I don't know that they don't. If we can identify a significant number of them who do, or identify others not on this list who maybe should be who do have breast cancer, we can have some numbers to work with. They will not be exact, and won't in themselves confirm any hypothesis, but they will be a good start, and give us something to work with. After all, the title of this is "mystery"; it doesn't claim to give definite answers and we shouldn't demand any at this stage

This is a good start, and I haven't had a chance to review these individuals. But the population should not include women who are too young to develop breast cancer, such as teenagers. Also, it should not include women who lack performance schedules that would necessitate the disclosure of breast cancer as the reason for cancellations. Most entertainers, particularly those who rely on a healthy and sexy image, would be reluctant for understandable reasons to disclose the disease unless they virtually have to.--Aschlafly 17:55, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
The first is easy enough, we can limit the pool from performers born since May 1978 to born between May 1978 and May 1988. That will remove teenagers (though should any Hollywood teens turn out to have breast cancer they will have to be removed from the analysis as well, which could end up working against your hypothesis). Since the vast majority of those listed above are in their 20's the list won't change dramatically, I think.
The second part is harder. Analysis of schedules and trying to make judgment calls on who is likely to hide a diagnosis is very subjective, particularly as we have no strong evidence of stars keeping it a secret. In fact, as a diagnosis of cancer is a surefire ticket to the cover of People magazine, they have an incentive to go public. Hollywood types thrive on publicity. Without compelling evidence of a statistically significant number of Hollywood women keeping cancer diagnoses secret, I don't see how it can be worked into even an informal study. If the results show a higher instance of breast cancer in this group, as you seem to think will be the case, then these potential secret cases won't matter, as we will already have established a higher rate without them. If they're lower for some reason, then that could be a sign that indeed some are not disclosing it. But I don't see any way of working theoretical non-disclosure into the study. Especially since if we make our study group too small, the probability of getting skewed results is greater. Cfred 22:05, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
I've been able to research two of them from the list, but both were near 20 in age (too young to develop breast cancer), and it was not clear they do any touring that would compel a disclosure. Also, the two listed in the entry are not on the list above. I'd limit (and expand) the list to include signers age 21 or 22 through 29 who are (or were) touring singers. I'd be surprised if that list were 100, and astonished if it were as high as 200. Yet 2 announced having breast cancer (one of whom died from it), despite the rate in the general population in that group being only 1 in 2500.--Aschlafly 22:20, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

I'm not sure why the limit is to born after 1978 for the population. Minnie Riperton was born in 1947. The people should include individuals like Michelle Phillips, Carole King, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Betty McGlown, Diana Ross, Barbara Martin, Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Lynda Laurence, Scherrie Payne, Susaye Greene, Martha Reeves, Rosalind Holmes, Annette Helton, Gloria Williams, betty Kelly, Lois Reeves, Sandra Tilley, etc... all the way through Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Hallwell. Why limit ourselves to the list of what is popular now - the list given has many more. There's a Colombian singer on the list too - so what about Anasol, Carolina la O, Fanny Lu, Carolina Herrera, Shakira, Toto la Momposina, Veronica Orozco. There's an Australian soap opera actress - so what the women listed in though I'm not sure why one would limit to just soap operas - so would be better to go from. There's an Australian pop singer in there too - so should be added too. Realize that this is just the list of what Wikipedia considers notable. I am sure that PJR can attest that there are many more than 83 female pop artists in Australia since the 1940s. --Rutm 00:49, 21 May 2008 (EDT)

Andy, are you not reading my words? I said a 10% increase is sufficient cause for concern if it's significantly different from the population, and 5/50 vs 1/1000 is more than 10% and would be significant. That should be clear enough. I do note that I have not gotten an answer to my simple question: where did 50 come from? Why the reluctance to be transparent? 50 is obviously not correct. You challenged someone above to name 50 touring female singers between 22 and 30. Check my talk page for a list of 114. Unlike your list, which includes South America and individuals diagnosed 30 years ago, I only included artists from English-speaking countries who performed in 2007-08. Murray 14:45, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Two additional notes - Murray and Andy, did you notice my list of 'Girl Groups' above? 69 women of the right age. And the other point is that of course these are only pop singers - and I'm curious to know how we can approach the over half a million actresses listed on IMDB? EngelUmpocker 15:05, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Murray, you say it is "clear enough" but you seem unwilling to answer the question about the mine hypothetical. It's not productive trying to read someone else's mind. You now seem to be saying that anything more than a 10% would be significant. If that's your view, then the data presented on the content page here is plainly significant: By age 30: 1 in 2,525 is the expected risk, yet there are at least 3 singers out of less than 1000 who have been afflicted. No matter how you manipulate the numbers, that's more than 10% in increased risk.

I thought that would've been clear enough Andy but I guess you don't think so. I said yes, that's enough cause for concern if that's the case, if you know that you only have 50 in the population. I also explicitly said that in that case it would be significant. Murray 18:26, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

You ask where I got the 50. It's an estimate, obviously, based on observed touring schedules, media coverage, and what the market would support. Your talk page (why your talk page?) lists 114. I've sampled two and one did not appear to be touring, and hence would not be likely to disclose breast cancer. Your list does include Canada and Australia. South America? OK, add 30%. Prior decades? OK, multiple it by 4. It's still far short of 1000.

You sampled 2, did you? And which were they? Which didn't appear to be touring? You're still not explaining how you estimated 50, other than saying you estimated it. I didn't include anyone who hadn't performed between 2007 and the present. And it's far from a complete list. You claimed that someone couldn't identify even 50 - that was incorrect. The point is, we have no idea what the denominator is. In your list, there is 1 person who fits the critera that I used, and that would be Anastacia. Minnie Riperton died 30 years ago, and your other under-30 isn't a musician. Even if I accept your math in the paragraph above, we get a total of about 600. Then we can include Minnie Riperton, and it becomes 2/600. Murray 18:26, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

EngelUmpocker, your list of 69 might also be good. But the same analysis above applies. By the way, there is no way that there are a half million touring female singers. The entire New York City area, as large and entertainment-oriented as it is, can probably support only a handful on any given weekend.
More generally, I don't have a pre-ordained conclusion, and present these data as a mystery. If this were a mine and the data were the same, you can bet most of us would not send our daughters in there. Why the reluctance to admit the possibility that the same is true about these data?--Aschlafly 15:30, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy, the "half million" refers to IMDB listed actresses, which is where I thought this article had originally begun. We have recently only been debating female singers - "let's now try to begin estimating how many of the half million actresses listed on IMDB are relevant", is what my point was? EngelUmpocker 15:40, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps someone else mentioned that number. I don't see how it is relevant. It would include people who were in just one movie, and maybe never even quit their day job!--Aschlafly 15:47, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
It most definitely would include people who would not be 'relevant', but it's a start. We must start to quantify these numbers somehow, as otherwise it's just an assertion - and I know you don't want your theory based on an assertion. But over a half a million is a good start. Certainly I imagine there's tens of thousand of those who would fit our profile and are, or were professional actresses. Certainly, we can see that there's at the very least hundreds of touring young women in the rock and pop business in the 'Western' world. Next I hope to quantify jazz singers, classical musicians, circus performers and Broadway show-style performers. EngelUmpocker 16:57, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

REPLY TO MURRAY AND ENGEL: Murray, Natasha St-Pier from your list was one of the two I sampled who did not seem to be touring. The other one (whose name escapes me) is touring but canceled a big concert, which could mean anything. Engel, you can start with whatever list you like but the list of all actresses has far more irrelevant names than relevant ones. We could also start with the New York City phone book, I suppose! (Please don't be offended by that humor.)

An intriguing possibility that I toss out for consideration by Murray and Engel, to which I don't yet know the answer, is whether we could use a ranking of the the most successful female singers and then note the frequency of breast cancer as a function of rank. If 2 out of the top 20 developed breast cancer at a young age, wouldn't that be alarming? That approach presents a good intellectual challenge.--Aschlafly 20:26, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

As I said, yes, the list of all actresses has far more irrelevant names than relevant ones. But you're starting with a valid list of half a million - would you imagine even 1% of that list is valid? That's 5,500 individuals. And starting with the NYC phone book would be better than starting with a list displaying nothing but selection bias, as you have here, since that would be essentially random, unlike your list. The key to understanding all statistical analysis is understanding that one's sample MUST be random, as countless others have pointed out above.
As to your suggestion, a population size of 20 is not an adequate population upon which to test a theory about a medical condition.
Finally, I want to return to an earlier point made by others. It seems the vast majority of the women you have listed here have indeed born children. How does this fit into your theory? EngelUmpocker 20:45, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Andy, Natasha St Pier was touring in 2007: [8]. As to your comment about rank, it is a distraction given that the primary issues raised here are not resolved. But nevertheless, it would be easy enough to approximate by categorizing artists based on sales and determining whether the risk differs by category. Though a glance at your list on the "Mystery" page suggests (to me at least) you would find nothing, as only 2 singers got breast cancer under 30 that are listed, and the only place I've heard of either is right here. Murray 20:54, 24 May 2008 (EDT)


What is Soraya Arnelas' relation to Hollywood?Wandering 14:04, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Hello? Wandering 23:10, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
Let me guess, "Wandering": you're another person who thinks "Hollywood" means merely the physical town in Southern California.--Aschlafly 16:09, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
I'd appreciate it if you answered my question, rather than make assumptions about my beliefs. Wandering 20:19, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
Do you plan to answer my question? Wandering 20:00, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
Not more than I have. There are more interesting issues to discuss and debate, as above.--Aschlafly 20:27, 24 May 2008 (EDT)
I must therefore assume you do not have the answer. Oh well. Wandering 20:29, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

Research Resources

To assist in the research for this article, I'm providing some links that may be helpful towards assessing the number of young female performers.

here's a list of all Country & Western musicians.

Here's a list of jazz singers].

Here's a list of American stage actors.

Here's IMDB's overall statistics page, listing total number of actresses.

List of female rock singers.

List of female heavy metal singers.

List of Australian Soap Opera actors.

List of Australian TV actors.

List of Australian Pop singers.

List of Canadian musicians.

List of British Pop Musicians of the 2000's.

Here's the website for circus performers.

Unfortunately many of these are not broken down by gender, but maybe we can ask the various editors to help. Warning - the lists get very, very long. EngelUmpocker 20:57, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

Katy Cusack

Ms. Cusack, according to the articles, was a stage actress only in the Austin area, and worked mainly at a clothing shop she owned. I don't think she should be counted as part of Hollywood. ZTak 21:09, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

I plan on removing her from the list soon. I could be wrong, but I don't think she falls under the definition of a member of Hollywood. It would be nice if someone else could respond one way or the other. ZTak 22:32, 25 May 2008 (EDT)

Norwegian actress and porn star

If by "hollywood" you also include Norwegian actresses then you must also include all actresses from all of Europe at bare minimum and probably from all over the world. No offence Andy, but this page is ridiculous and I'm surprised you can't see that. user:DamianJohn

Link to breast enhancment ?

a delicate subject to be sure but is there ant statistical link to show that actresses with breast cancer ALSO had breast enhancements which may have increased the risks ? just a thought Markr 17:59, 17 November 2008 (EST)

Seems unlikely and there are far larger studies of that issue with negative results.--Aschlafly 18:47, 17 November 2008 (EST)

Statistical analysis

This came up on the recent changes and I was somewhat shocked by the fundamental mistakes underlying this apparent 'mystery'.

The article ONLY lists a very few cases of Hollywood (and even some who have nothing to do with Hollywood) actresses who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at a relatively young age. They have been listed because they are below the average age for diagnosis, but as has been pointed out this figure is the mean, by definition it will have values above and below. There will also be many examples of Hollywood actresses diagnosed with the condition after the average age, and I expect that if an actual survey were done the average age of diagnosis when limited to hollywood actresses would be very close to the national average. However, this raises another fundamental flaw. The group in question is far too small in mathematical terms for any meaningful conclusions to be drawn. The definition of the group of people in question is also highly arbitrary making any sort of mathematical assessment of the group difficult. RobertWDP 07:49, 27 February 2009 (EST)

Robert, please learn first here, then comment. Your statistical analysis above is completely wrong. Clusters within a group this size certainly are meaningful.
By chance, you didn't work for tobacco companies a few decades ago, did you?--Andy Schlafly 12:19, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I can safely say I have never nor would I ever work for a tobacco company. My argument is that the statistics are not meaningful for the group size in question since for one thing the group size has not been accurately delimited. And for another the group has been selected by specifically identifying individual actresses that have been diagnosed at a young age. I'm sure there are hollywood actresses who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at a relatively old age and certainly ages much closer to or above the average stated in the article, however this has not been accounted for and in statistical terms there is a pre-existing bias towards the younger victims before any analysis is actually undertaken. You yourself also acknowledge the lack of complete numbers of those diagnosed within hollywood. The statistics regarding actual risk also differ temporally and spatially. Obviously hollywood actresses come from across the world and so the statistics that are more relevant to them would be those from their places of origin. Even within the USA there is variation in the chance of suffering from breast cancer. The different times at which the featured actresses were diagnosed also raises issues since the risk statistics have changed over time whereas the articles simply groups them all together. (also as you shall see i have edited the title of this section from both my original and your edit, to better reflect the nature of this discussion. RobertWDP 12:35, 27 February 2009 (EST)
RobertWDP, you may or may not be aware of Mr Schlafly's considerable experience in the medico-legal world and that he has a commanding grip of statistical analysis displayed on numerous occasions in the pages of this encyclopaedia. It would be sensible, and courteous, to recognise and respect his expertise. CedP 12:58, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I hope I have been courteous and that I will continue to be. I am willing to recognise the expertise of others if they will do me the same favour. I have studied statistics as a stand-alone subject in considerable depth. I do not think the need for any significant medical knowledge is all that great here, I am willing to accept the statistics provided regarding national rates and the like and medical questions as to what may actually cause the apparent mystery are never really raised to a significant extent and are not the focus of my critique. The specific issues of fundamental statistics I have referred to in both of my previous messages on this subject have yet to be addressed in any response thus far, and I think this might well prove to be a more constructive line of discussion as opposed to speculating about personal issues. RobertWDP 13:03, 27 February 2009 (EST)
RobertWDP, I reread the beginning of your rant at the top of this section and stopped there. I'll be honest: I don't have time to explain simple statistics to you. If the expected rate of lung cancer among the general non-smoking public is 1 in 10,000, and you observe a rate of 20% in a sample size of 20 smokers, then that is statistically significant and should be the cause for great alarm. Deny it, as tobacco companies did for decades, and you can have a good job for a tobacco company but you're not helping any of the potential victims.--Andy Schlafly 23:32, 28 February 2009 (EST)

Actually, I'm afraid such a rate would not be statistically significant, especially with just the information you've provided in that hypothetical. And there is another major flaw in your example. Whilst of course such a high rate would be alarming, the sample does not link with the rate you have provided since the rate is for non-smoker whilst the sample is strictly smokers. As such to try and make a comparison between that sample and that figure is impossible. Certainly with a larger sample you could compare the rates of lung cancer amongst smokers and non-smokers and would most definitely find it to be much higher amongst the former. The fact is that the situation with regards to breast cancer in hollywood may appear to be like that hypothetical situation you have described, but as I have said repeatedly you have not accurately defined the sample size, and as such you cannot even state what the actual breast cancer rate is within that. Also, if in the smokers case you deliberately chose people who had lung cancer then you would be showing bias in the analysis. That is exactly what has been going on in the main article since people have been selected exclusively because they had cancer at a young age. There is no mention of any actresses who were diagnosed at a later age, which would affect the average, and this then links back into the point about the undefined actual number of 'hollywood' actresses. I have stated these points before and it is necessary to read the whole of my post to see this. As I have also stated I would rather you didn't make personal attacks against me, I have not done the same, please stick to discussing the actual issues. For one thing this example is not even comparable to the cigarettes causing cancer issue, which of course they most certainly do! No actual biological explanation for the apparent mystery is put forward and so I am not even trying to deny any cause, such as tobacco. Trying to frame my arguments in that light is only going to be counter-productive I fear. RobertWDP 10:59, 1 March 2009 (EST)