Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New cancer diagnosis procedures may be coming

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Septe 15, 2014, writes that 596,000 Americans may die of cancer this year--but many will die of fast-moving lethal forms.

In the meantime, with all the "preventive" measures to detect early (not prevent), many other people may be undergoing unnecessary treatment that can affect the rest of their lives.

One doctor said we are detecting too many slow-growing cancers and too few fast-growing ones.

A National Cancer Institute advisory panel is calling for major changes. Included are new screenings for deadly forms, registries to track the slower forms, and new language to remove the word cancer from
"pre" conditions.

For example, as much as 60% of prostate cancer is so slow-growing, the man will outlive it. But the treatments can change the man's whole life. Some think the percentage of those who have cancer cells in the prostate equal age--age 70, 70% of men have them.

Scientists now estimate that 30% of invasive breast cancers, 18% o f lung cancers, and 90% of papillary thyroid cancers pose no lethal threat.

No no no, say people diagnosed early and "saved."

The key is figuring out who is at risk--and screening those people early on.

Should you refuse screening? Personal decision. For breast and prostate cancer, you have a 2.7% chance of dying of it. Screen 10,000 women in their 60s for breast cancer every year and between 5 and 49 cases will be averted. Ninety women will die of it anyway. And 64 to 194 will be treat unnecessarily.

Your call. In the meantime, the research continues. Stay tuned.

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