This new JAMA article reviews the literature. At a glance, it may add to the growing perception among journalists, primary care physicians and others – including ordinary women – that mammography’s effectiveness has been, again, disproved.
While therapy has improved quite a bit since 1985, the greatest benefit derives from most women avoiding the need for life-long treatment by having small tumors found and removed before they’ve spread.
I hope this week’s headlines and editorials don’t add to the blurriness of the public’s perception of cancer screening – that people might begin to think it’s a bad thing all around. The details matter….screening if it’s done right can save lives and dollars. That’s because for most tumor types, treating advanced, metastatic disease is costlier than treatment of early-stage, curable tumors.
Few forms of invasive breast cancer warrant no treatment unless the patient is so old that she is likely to die first of another condition, or the patient prefers to die of the disease….“Mammograms Spot Cancers That May Not Be Dangerous,” said WebMD, yesterday. This is feel-good news, and largely wishful.
The new findings have no bearing on whether or not cancer screening is cost-effective or life-saving. What the study does suggest is that med school math requirements should be upped and rigorous, counter to the trend
My take is that periodic colonoscopy has the potential to halve the number of deaths from colon cancer in the general population…As to how colonoscopy relates to fecal blood testing as a screening method at the population level, and the optimal start and frequency of either test, those remain uncertain.
The latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine contains 2 noteworthy papers on cervical cancer screening. The first, a systematic review of studies commissioned by the USPSTF, looked at 3 methods for evaluating abnormalities ...
Days ago, the USPSTF issued a new draft for its recommendations on routine PSA measurements in asymptomatic men. The panel’s report is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The main findings are two: first, ...