Cutting-edge medical research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has proved, shockingly, that cancer survival rates are better in rich countries with plenty of hospitals.
The study, carried out by 100 scientists around the world, discovered to their utter amazement that the well-off inhabitants of the USA, Australia, Canada, France and Japan were far more likely to overcome cancer than the struggling paupers of Algeria.
Their jaws dropped even further when they discovered that survival rates varied within the wealthier nations, with white Americans with private health insurance 14% more likely to survive than the impoverished racial minorities.
“It’s too early to draw any concrete conclusions, of course,” said the baffled project leader, Michel Coleman. “But having a wallet bulging with credit cards definitely seems to be a factor. Perhaps there are life-enhancing qualities in the plastic, or the chip or something. Can we have another research grant, please?”
One cancerous Algerian goat-herder we spoke to, however, said that he was less concerned about the lack of treatment for his tumour than about disappearing after being arrested for talking to the foreign media.
“Even if I get away with that,” he said philosophically, “I’ll probably die at the hands of rebel insurgents or government forces in this ongoing civil war that you don’t seem very interested in.”
Meanwhile, other leading researchers at the cutting edge of the life sciences are clamouring for grants to discover the answers to other medical mysteries that have baffled the human race for centuries - such as what makes old people more likely to have grey hair than children, why testicular cancer is almost exclusively confined to men, and how birds manage to fly better than crabs.