This week is Cancer Screen Week. It’s a one-sided campaign sponsored by industry and the American Cancer Society that urges people to get screened.
The truth is that the scientific evidence for cancer screening is not convincing. What’s more, screening comes with potential harms.
I know; it’s counter-intuitive, but it’s what the evidence says.
Benjamin Maser is a medical doctor (pathologist) and writer at Yale.
Check out our editorial on WBUR> Does Cancer Screening Save More Lives Overall? Not Necessarily
By the way, you may be thinking: what does a pathologist and a cardiologist know about cancer screening?
My answer is that one need not be a cancer specialist to interpret basic studies. The controlled trials compare a group of people who got screened vs those who do not. These studies, which we cited in the editorial, show that overall mortality is essentially the same in both groups.
That’s not complicated. Nor is understanding the notion of over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
In the article, we favor honesty, balance and informed decisions–not fear and bullying.