Cancer screening: How can a test be bad?

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 30, 2011 - 9:09 PM

Patients are baffled as more experts say tests and treatment may not lead to better outcomes.

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  • Comments

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davehougOct. 30, 11 6:36 PM

What is needed is a way to tell aggressive fast growing cancer from the slow cancer. Once prostate cancer is known, how can we improve "watchful waiting".

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glamorousvivOct. 30, 11 8:05 PM

So they find one, 83 year old doctor to help push their propaganda, and he gets an entire story. How about a better headline..."Obamacare Putting the Brakes on Pre-Screening for Deadly Diseases Due to Under-Estimating True Costs and Over Promising Services." That might be a more appropriate title for this campaign to downplay pre-screening tests since obamacare got shoved through.

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ranta00Oct. 30, 11 8:07 PM

One factor to detect fast growing prostate cancers may be the velocity of increase in psa. 10 weeks ago I had a psa. It was 7 giving me about a 30% chance of having cancer.My rate of increase was 1.0 per year ( I had not had a psa in 3 years). Johns Hopkins says an increase of .75 is too fast. The biopsy was a Gleason score of 7 (max of 10) giving me cancer. The second biopsy at time of surgery showed That 2/3rd of my prostate was cancerous.It was worse than first thought. Maybe the question should be, How bad should the biopsy be to warrant surgery because you rarely have symptoms. I am glad I had a psa and surgery but feel some urologists are too quick to do so.

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jal1962Oct. 30, 11 8:15 PM

What is needed is realistic evaluation of the benefits of drugs and procedures for specific applications. First do no harm doesn't seem to apply when it comes to impotence or incontinence. We need to evalute all the benefits and all the risks associated with a given procedure. This article is a great example. Here is what goes wrong and how frequently. What I didn't see were the results if you ignore or don't screen for the specific issue. More likely to die of something else tells me that you have less than a 50% chance of dying of prostate cancer. Is that 5% or 49%. Big difference. Poorly written story in my opinion. Raises more questions than answers.

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DacotaOct. 30, 11 8:17 PM

Very, VERY few doctors ever take a "wait and see" attitude and the biggest reason for this is their fear of being sued. Lawyers are killers!!!

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okabena9Oct. 30, 11 9:27 PM

If your only measure of life is length, you've already failed. The premises and metrics of the merits of testing are flawed if that is the only measure. It's like measuring the value of a person or the quality of their life by their bank statement. Speaking as a health care provider, I'm sorry the panels don't realize such, and apologize to all those confused. Talk to your doctor about your testing, care and concerns.

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hammermaOct. 30, 11 9:32 PM

wonder if these Dr's practice what they preach? No screening that is.

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friartuckOct. 30, 11 9:34 PM

Oh the joys of Western medicine. Cut it open and hit it with radiation, or dose you with a nice pharm cocktail. We are positive that is the best way. Well, maybe it's not..we're not quite sure, we haven't been at this very long. Gotta love it. How about this, don't eat nutritionally void, overprocessed junk and get out and get some excersize. Nutrition is the key to health. Or....just roll the dice with Western doctors...they sure are gambling so why don't you.

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trude003Oct. 30, 1110:09 PM

Death is the only outcome considered in this reevaluation of PSA. But what about living with invasive prostate cancer? Even if slow growing and death occurs from another cause, there is a quality of life issue to be considered. This study does not answer the question of which is worse - the side effects of treatment or the side effects of no treatment, especially considering today's longer life spans.

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furguson11Oct. 30, 1110:20 PM

Nice. Just had my second biopsy in 3 years and getting the results on tuesday.

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