Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thinking Through Screening and Diagnosis

It began with prostate cancer screenings and mortality studies. Then there was deeper research on breast cancer--early diagnosis and what it means, could mean, might not mean.

Now Gina Kolata writes in this week's New York Times about ways of examining the impact of increased screening versus mortality, and the complicated issues of how we should respond to diagnoses.

The cancer in this story is thyroid cancer--seemingly on the increase in Korea--until you look at the screening and diagnose numbers versus mortality numbers. Is there more cancer or more diagnosed cancer? And in the case of thyroid cancer--like prostate--is the treatment and possible debilitating effects of the treatment worth it given that mortality rates are not changed.

What Kolata describes very well is how complicated all of this is--and at the very time that we have shorter meeting times with doctors and specialists. What's a human being to do?

Do take a look at this and yes, share it with others. We all have cancer; we all have cancer cells in us at all times. So as screening techniques improve and become more refined will we all soon all have "diagnosed cancers"? That's a scary thought--in so many ways.

Here's the article from Gina Kolata. Link below:

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