An excerpt from article in Common Ground that raises questions about screening and testing where it may not be necessary.

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Two impressive victories in the prevention propaganda war concerned widely promoted forms of medical screening, which promise to save us from the scourge of cancer. These victories reveal the large gaps between what many specialists say – about getting a mammogram or a PSA test – and the evidence gleaned from high-quality screening research. The year’s biggest triumph came when Danish researcher Peter C. Gøtzsche published an editorial in theCanadian Medical Association Journal noting, “The best method we have to reduce the risk of breast cancer is to stop the screening program.” He threw down the gauntlet by asking readers – mostly Canadian doctors – one simple question: “Which country will be first to stop mammography screening?”

Remember, mammography screening is looking for disease in otherwise healthy women.

Also in 2012, the PSA test – to evaluate a man’s level of ‘prostate specific antigen,’ a potential sign of prostate cancer – was deemed to cause more harm than good when the major independent screening group in the US – the United States Preventive Services Task force (USPSTF) – concluded it shouldn’t be offered to otherwise healthy, asymptomatic men. There is a great danger that men might be harmed through unnecessary treatment, which can often result in incontinence, impotence or both.

Remember, PSA screening is looking for disease in otherwise healthy men.

Essentially, the cleanest, most reliable, research around breast and prostate cancer screening programs showed they are probably harmful for most people being screened. We learned that the tests being promoted often find “pseudodisease” – things in your blood or body that would never have gone on to hurt you. Overly aggressive screening often leads to unnecessary breast and prostate cancer biopsies, surgeries, chemotherapies and drugs.

 

 

See the full article here:

http://commonground.ca/2013/01/for-a-prevention-propaganda-free-year/

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