Viewpoint: Aggressive US approach to cancer doing ‘more harm than good’

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Image: Cleveland Clinic

To paraphrase [author and oncologist Siddhartha] Mukherjee, testing represents an inversion—or perversion–of the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. A 2015 review of screening methods for cancer and other diseases found that none extend life, when all causes of mortality are taken into account. Studies have revealed that tests such as mammograms and screening for prostate cancer have led to massive overdiagnosis and overtreatment

The U.S. spends far more per capita on health care, including cancer care, than any other country, but higher expenditures have not led to longer lives. Quite the contrary. Europe, which spends much less on cancer care than the U.S., has lower cancer mortality rates, according to a 2015 study

Related article:  Fighting cancer by stimulating the immune system with injections directly into the tumor

These data corroborate concerns that the aggressive, expensive American approach to cancer is doing more harm than good.

Gentle cancer medicine seems unlikely in our hyper-capitalist culture. It can only take root if we consumers demand it, and stop insisting on getting dubious tests and treatments. We may never cure cancer, which results from the collision of our complex biology with entropy. But if we can curtail our fear and greed, our cancer care will surely improve. 

Read full, original post: Cancer Medicine Is Failing Us

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