March 7, 2007

SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND...EVEN IF NOT WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR:

Study: CT scans don't prevent cancer deaths (AP, Mar. 7, 2007)

A new study suggests that screening smokers and former smokers for lung cancer doesn't save lives or prevent advanced disease and may lead to unneeded and harmful treatment. [...]

Researchers compared deaths and advanced cancer cases with rates predicted by a mathematical model. The model - based on a person's age, gender, asbestos exposure and smoking history - has proven valid in previous studies.

The model predicted there would be 33.4 cases of advanced cancer; there were 42. The model predicted 38.8 lung cancer deaths; there were 38.

"We don't see a trace of evidence that a single life was saved, that a single case of advanced cancer was avoided," said study co-author Dr. Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

CT screening did increase diagnosis and treatment. The people screened were three times more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10 times more likely to have lung surgery than predicted.

Bach said it's likely the cancers found by scans were so slow-growing they might never have caused death.


Unfortunately, folks have an unshakable faith that those false positives are a good thing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2007 10:52 PM
Comments

Seems to me that a real smart feller once said, "...studies start with a desired result and then find a way to produce it."

Posted by: Bryan at March 8, 2007 7:16 AM

File this story under "Why healthcare costs so frickin' much"

Posted by: gupta at March 8, 2007 10:41 PM
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