Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When will Peak Swine be?


kinda weird how they didn't bother to quantify the harms and benefits

"Comments are no longer being accepted."   dang,   I signed up just to comment on this story;  there were already 206 when I first looked after just half a day and now they shut it down.  Interesting 

oh wait it's ok this one got in;  it's pretty accurate 

Of every 2000 women screened with mammos (per Cochrane):

200 will have false positives, with resulting worries and potentially mutilating surgeries

10 will be diagnosed but their outcomes are the same whether they were screened or not. Likely, they all feel they were helped, even though data shows their outcomes are neutral.

1 will have her life prolonged

Overall, 200 women are harmed for every one that is helped. I think your opinion on the benefit of screening depends on whether you are one of the 200 or the 1 (or think you are the 1).

Is it worth harming 200 women to help 1? That's the question.

Screening is a value judgment. How many people is it ok to harm to help the one?

Oh my goodness could it be true?

The American Cancer Society, which has long advocated early cancer screening, is rethinking its message, according to The New York Times. Spurred in part by the new analysis, the cancer society is working on a message — to put on its Web site early next year — to emphasize that screening for breast and prostate cancer and certain other cancers can come with a real risk of overtreating many small cancers while missing cancers that are deadly.

Folks with all the talk about health care reform,  THIS little tid bit here could change the course of medicine and save hundreds of thousands of men and women from a needless diagnosis of cancer whilst saving the country millions if not billions of dollars.  

IF the american cancer society follows through on this and changes their "message" to match the available evidence,  ho boy look out.  

This is seriously deep dogma in medicine and if it changes that my friends will be the beginning of something.