We are accustomed to the convenient (and lucrative) massaging of statistics that goes on around cancer. The public relations “war” is all about impressing the public and channeling them into the dollars machine, with fear and dread of cancer.
Even so, it was quite startling to read that, since the PSA test has been discredited and not used too much, the “incidence” of early stage prostate cancer in older men has plummeted by 25%.
See if you follow my reasoning, which is: there are fewer fake cancers being funneled into the system?
That’s pretty shocking.
It follows on my repeated advice, which is stay away from doctors. What they call “screening”, fishermen would call casting their nets wider.
David Howard, PhD, from the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, found that from 2007 to 2009, the adjusted incidence rate for early-stage tumors in men 75 years and older decreased from 443 to 330 per 100,000. The absolute number of cases declined from 8137 to 6162.
That’s a bit different to claims in the Journal of The Medical Association, which tried to paint the picture that there were no fewer PSA tests than before (JAMA. 2012;307:1692-1694). Self-reported PSA testing measures used by the JAMA researcher has poor sensitivity and specificity, says Dr. Howard.
Of course that fact that the PSA is proven worthless (please don’t write and tell me it worked for you) won’t stop it being used. It does NOT save lives; that’s been shown. It just drums up clients for expensive chemo.
The USPSTF’s “blanket rejection” of the PSA test is “unlikely to influence practice,” according to Sigrid Carlsson, MD, PhD, from the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Göteborg University in Sweden, and colleagues.
“PSA testing is not likely to go away,” wrote Dr. Carlsson and coauthors. Well, why would it, when it’s so good for business?
But Dr. Howard was firm in condemning “overdiagnosis”. These are just words being bandied around. Well, I can play at words: how about “fraud”? That’s a good one. “Scaring people half to death to get more money,” are some more every unattractive words.
Cancer industry and American Cancer Association (a fraudulent charity) are five particularly unpleasant words.
[SOURCE: Arch Intern Med. Published online July 23, 2012. Abstract]