Sunday, July 27, 2014

Screening tests do not necessarily work

Here is an excellent essay. The politicians don't necessarily want results, only want to be see
n doing something. It was the same in education. New programs aren't shown to be effective, they just want to appear to be changing it up.

No, screening tests have research-based strengths and weaknesses. Doctors know this. Mammograms are only effective part of the time. Some, like my father, who had a seizure in 1942, didn't fully develop his brain tumour until age 77.

As Mr. Lewis (not THAT Mr. Stephen Lewis) says, there is a lot of overkill and the CMA did not respond.

Briefly: From 2006-07 to 2009-10, the Ontario government gave family doctors $110 million to boost screening rates for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer. Never mind that there is a lot of over-screening for cervical cancer (many women get a Pap test more frequently than the recommended every 3rd year) as well as under-screening. Never mind that the evidence for universal breast cancer screening grows shakier by the year. Take it at face value: spending designed to achieve specified effects.
It flopped. Family physician Tara Kinan and colleagues have just published a study that shows no impact.

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