Breast cancer screening.

Post Reply
User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2261
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Breast cancer screening.

Post by chaggle » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:35 am

Hope you can see enough of this for it to make sense.

Image

It was re-tweeted by David Colquhoun with the line...
How can this graph possibly justify continuation of breast cancer screening of healthy women?
Does it show that breast screening is a waste of effort?
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

User avatar
Ketchup
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:15 pm
Location: Around the bend
Contact:

Re: Breast cancer screening.

Post by Ketchup » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:04 pm

chaggle wrote:Does it show that breast screening is a waste of effort?
:? It shows that breast screening graphs drawn up by the Harding Center for Risk Literacy (well - that particular one, anyway) are a waste of paper - and effort. :ro
~ Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday ~

Tony.Williams
Posts: 730
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:05 am
Location: Still somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: Breast cancer screening.

Post by Tony.Williams » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:32 am

I've seen this kind of argument before relating to other medical issues. I can't say that I've seen any general acknowledgement of its validity, though.

With such issues, it can be difficult to separate the medical logic from other factors.

For example, there is usually political support for being seen to take action to resolve a problem, even if that action is not necessarily productive. As in: "This is terrible, something must be done. This is something, therefore it must be done."

Also, once you have a complex organisation set up, funded, equipped and staffed to alleviate the danger from a deadly disease, it would be an extremely brave person who took the decision to shut it down.

Which is not to say I agree that with the initial argument - I don't have enough information to argue one way or the other - but these things can be complicated. As a parallel, I have read that a remarkably high percentage of medicines prescribed for patients are only effective at the placebo level, but they still get doled out.

User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2261
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Re: Breast cancer screening.

Post by chaggle » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:38 am

I'm having difficulty understanding this.

One thing I note is that there is no indication of how many of the 1000 women in either group actually contracted cancer and were treated and cured.

Given that 1 in 8 women and 1 in 870 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, we might expect 120 or so women in both groups to have had it, been treated, and survived,

So in the control group, how was the cancer in those women detected and at what stage, and what treatment was then needed? Surely we need to know something about them before we can make a proper assessment.

The only outcomes shown are death and survival which surely is overly simplistic. Are there not other issues? How about severity of treatment? For example a small lumpectomy or partial mastectomy following early diagnosis is surely a better outcome than massive disfiguring and traumatic surgery possibly followed by distressing chemo and radio because the cancer was allowed to develop.

Interpretation of stats is not my strong point - i may have got that completely wrong.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Post Reply