Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Cancer Screening - the complete story.

I was thinking about doing a post, prompted by the recent rash of stories in the media about whether regular prostate and breast cancer screening is a good idea. This is a very interesting topic, one I got interested in a bit back when I wondered why people didn't get screened at younger ages. Surely, you'd catch fewer, but you'd still catch the rare few people who develop these cancers early. The answer revolves around the rate of false positives, in that case, and the recent rash of questioning has to do with how many tumours go on to become actual problems...

Luckily, I can point you all to a write up by an expert. Orac is a surgeon and a cancer researcher - an MD PhD in academic parlance. That's a very rare breed of person, but one of the most important links in advancing human medicine. He has problems with how the issue is being portrayed in the media (there's a shock), and puts the research in appropriate context. If you want to be educated on cancer screening, I strongly recommend you read his review of the science.

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