Do ‘preventative’ cancer screenings save lives?

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

We’ve all been regaled — doctors, the public, everyone — with advice about getting tested to “prevent cancer,” also known as cancer screening. The most commonplace such tests are mammograms and the PSA test for breast and prostate cancer, respectively.

We’ve seen the anecdotes, about how her life was saved by a timely mammogram, or his by an only-slightly-elevated PSA level. Now they are “cancer survivors.” But what is the evidence to show that those (and other) screening tests actually save lives — a far different metric from reducing deaths due to the specific cancer being screened for. (And by the way, there has never been a test to “prevent cancer.” At best, screening detects earlier or smaller cancers but does nothing to prevent their occurrence.)

Spoiler alert: the evidence is flawed or absent for most types of cancer. An article in the recent edition of BMJ calls for a mini-revolution in how physicians and the public think of screening tests for cancer. The article is entitled, “Why cancer screening has never been shown to ‘save lives’ — and what we can do about it,” by Dr. Vinay Prasad of the Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, and two co-authors.

Read full, original post: Screening Works for Some Cancers, While Overall Mortality Up

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend