Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Breast Cancer Monitors May Not Decrease Deaths

My opinion:  I'm not really sure what to say about this - oftentimes, it seems as if one many studies contradict many other studies and no one gets anywhere with them, at all.  However, it might be possible to see some patterns by taking a closer look at the data.  If women under 40 have had the largest drop in deaths, perhaps younger women should actually get breast cancer screening more, and not older ones.  Also, if the treatment is helping more so than the diagnosis, maybe funding should cover more laboratory research than screening campaigns, if it is possible to divert the money from one place to another.  Ultimately, I think these issues will be cleared up shortly by further investigation.  In the long run, scientists believe that robotic sensors will continuously monitor our bodies for cancer, eliminating the need for screening appointments.  But then, if this were to occur, would we be overtreating cancers?  This article sure raises some complex questions - is there a better way to analyze these findings?  Feel free to comment.

Breast cancer screening fails to cut deaths

25 years of breast cancer screening has failed to significantly reduce deaths from the disease, according to a landmark study.

A new study has found breast cancer screening has failed to cut deaths from the disease.
A new study has found breast cancer screening has failed to cut deaths from the disease.  Photo: ALAMY/MODEL RELEASED
12:05AM BST 11 Jun 2013

Although the number of women who die from breast cancer is steadily decreasing, there is “no evidence” to suggest this is because of screening programmes first introduced in 1988, researchers from Oxford University said.
A study of death rates found that the largest drop in mortality has been in women under the age of 40, who are not routinely screened for the disease. While screening can benefit individual women, it is making little difference at a national level and other factors such as better treatment are likely to be behind improving survival, researchers said.
The findings contradict a review commissioned by the Department of Health, which last year found that death rates were 20 per cent lower among women invited to screening.
Breast cancer screening has been the subject of heated debate, because although it undoubtedly has the potential to detect some cancer, it also raises the risk of unnecessary surgery and treatment.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10111562/Breast-cancer-screening-fails-to-cut-deaths.html

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