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Cancer Screenings…Do they really save lives?

Cancer Screenings
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For decades I have questioned the true value of cancer screenings.  The only real data I had was intermittent studies questioning the accuracy of screening tests like mammograms, PSA tests, and pap smears.  I am a believer in two things when it comes to these tests; 1. You must do whatever makes you comfortable. 2. In the end, what is right generally prevails.

Recently, The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) published their findings on whether cancer screening tests actually extended lifetime. Here is an excerpt from their publication.

Question – Cancer screening tests are promoted to save lives, but how much is life extended due to commonly used cancer screening tests?

Findings – In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 long-term randomized clinical trials involving 2.1 million individuals, colorectal cancer screening with sigmoidoscopy prolonged lifetime by 110 days, while fecal testing and mammography screening did not prolong life. An extension of 37 days was noted for prostate cancer screening with prostate-specific antigen testing and 107 days with lung cancer screening using computed tomography, but estimates are uncertain.

Meaning – The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that colorectal cancer screening with sigmoidoscopy may extend life by approximately 3 months; lifetime gain for other screening tests appears to be unlikely or uncertain.

Again, do what you feel is right for you.  We finally have reliable data on which to make important medical decisions.


Research and References:


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