A long term study has just been released asserting that prostate cancer screenings don’t prevent deaths. Screenings are good for detecting cancer early, but the study looked at several decades of data and found that screenings had little effect on preventing deaths from prostate cancer.
Swedish study finds cancer death rates unaffected by early detection
A new study in British Medical Journal asserts that prostate cancer screenings do not actually affect the number of deaths from the disease among men, based on the results of a Swedish study. The study was carried out by examining at least two decades worth of data, according to the Los Angeles Times. The experiments that led to the conclusions of the study began in 1987, according to WebMD, when doctors began tracking data on men who received screenings and those who did not. No difference was detected in the rate of deaths from prostate cancer, but the group that received regular screenings did receive earlier and longer courses of treatment if subjects were diagnosed with the disease.
Latest study to question merits of prostate screening
The current flagship test for prostate cancer is a test for Prostate Specific Antigen, a compound that is produced by the prostate. Testing the level of PSA can possibly detect prostate cancer if the level of PSA is elevated. However, according to the BBC, studies have shown up to 67 percent of men with high PSA levels do not have prostate cancer. Physicians have been questioning whether prostate screenings work for decades, and the evidence is mounting that they do not. A 2009 study by the National Cancer Institute found no reduction in deaths in seven years of data, similar results to the recent Swedish study in the British Medical Journal report.
Rate of lung cancer on the decline
The number of cases of lung cancer is declining in the United States, according to Reuters. Studies are showing fewer women are developing lung cancer, as the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer declined by 1 percent per year from 2003 to 2007, nearly a decade after a similar decline was observed among American men. The decline is partially attributed to the decrease of smoking nationwide. The proportion of American women who smoked reached a peak later than men, and instances of lung cancer are expected to further decline with the demise of more elderly smokers.
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-prostate-cancer-screening-20110401,0,7673483.story
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