What Cancer
Can and Can't do
NEWS
Massive genome study unlocks secrets of how cancer ...
FEBRUARY 6, 2020 by Sara Hussein A massive, decade-long study sequencing the genomes of dozens of cancers has revealed the secrets of ...more
'Treating cancer is only part of the journey': the ...
FEBRUARY 4, 2020 by Richard Gray, From Horizon Magazine, Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine ‘Treating cancer is only part of ...more
Cancer cell reversion may offer a new approach to ...
FEBRUARY 3, 2020 The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Cancer cell reversion may offer a new approach to color ...more
View All 
Blog
Back
How cancer awareness efforts can backfire

November 8th, 2012in Physician


The American Cancer Society designated an October weekend weekend “Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend” as part of its annual Coaches vs. Cancer program that featured well-dressed basketball coaches wearing “sneakers instead of dress shoes with their usual game attire during weekend games to demonstrate their support for the Society and the fight against cancer.”

The idea is to encourage people to exercise and eat a healthy diet to reduce their risk of cancer. Of all of the ACS’s cancer prevention initiatives, this is probably one of the best.

 

I’m suspicious of other “cancer awareness” efforts, though – in particular, the increasing fad of designating particular months or weeks of the year as times for heightened awareness of individual cancer types. According to the 2012 ACS calendar, the fall months are particularly crowded: September was for ovarian cancer, childhood cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, thyroid cancer, and prostate cancer Month; October is for breast cancer (with “National Mammography Day” coming up on the 19th); and November is for lung and pancreatic cancer. January 2010 saw Facebook virtually consumed for a few days by a “breast cancer awareness campaign” with female users posting the colors of their bras in status updates. While advocacy groups denied any involvement in this apparently spontaneous campaign, they also professed to be pleased with the attention that breast cancer was getting.

Yet I wonder if breast cancer really needs any extra attention when a few years ago the release of painstakingly crafted recommendations to individualize mammography decisions for women in their 40s caused weeks of public furor and threatened to derail health reform legislation over the make-believe issue of “rationing.” And from a public health standpoint, focusing on this single cancer to the exclusion of all other threats to women’s health makes little sense. Among the causes of death in women, breast cancer doesn’t even make the top five. It ranks 7th overall, and according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it isn’t even the number one cancer cause of death. (That would be lung cancer, by a nearly two to one margin.) Even if breast cancer is detected and appropriately treated, there is scientific consensus that up to 1 in 3 women receiving treatment gain nothing from it, because the cancer was either slow growing or the patient was destined to die of some other cause (such as a heart attack or stroke) before the cancer would have caused any symptoms.

Finally, well-intentioned cancer awareness efforts can backfire by encouraging unnecessary or unproven screening for cancers. During the Facebook campaign, I was dismayed to see some of my friends discussing how a similar strategy might be used to persuade men to get testicular and prostate screenings (brief or boxer color?) or women to get checked for ovarian cancer (you’ve got me on that one). Unfortunately, there is no consistent evidence that detecting any of these cancers with existing tests saves lives (ovarian cancer screening, in fact, has been proven to cause net harm), and doing so can and does lead to emotional or physical damage from false positive tests.

I’m all for cancer awareness when the goal is to reduce the risk of developing cancer, or to deploy proven screening tests for early-stage cancers in age and risk groups that are supported by good scientific evidence. But naive “awareness” – that is, high doses of enthusiasm combined with misinformation – may actually hurt as many people as it helps.

Kenneth Lin is a family physician who blogs at Common Sense Family Doctor.

Posted By by Kenneth Lin,  At 11/13/2012 1:40:05 PM
62 Comments:
Judi said...  @  5/12/2018 8:24:13 AM
I65XBt https://www.genericpharmacydrug.com

Judi said...  @  5/12/2018 4:27:57 AM
1qCza3 https://www.genericpharmacydrug.com

mike11 said...  @  4/17/2018 11:45:14 PM
ATJi3f https://www.genericpharmacydrug.com

Patrick said...  @  10/10/2016 5:55:35 AM
I'd like to take the job http://www.cfastresults.com/why-cfast/ swallow cymbalta buy online employ It comes with the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11 ac, and 4G LTE support, which means that the handset is capable of reaching upload speeds of 150Mbps. Anyone who buys the device in the UK should not get too excited about this feature, however, as UK 4G networks do not support these speeds yet.

Myron said...  @  10/10/2016 5:00:04 AM
Do you know the number for ? http://www.cfastresults.com/why-cfast/ strike buy generic cymbalta canada clay poke HONG KONG, August 8 (Reuters) - Shares in mainland Chinesemarkets and Hong Kong rose on Thursday after stronger thanexpected trade data soothed worries over a slowdown in theworld's second largest economy.

Jayson said...  @  10/10/2016 4:37:18 AM
I've only just arrived http://www.cfastresults.com/why-cfast/ sentiments fence buy cymbalta no prescription statesman welcome Apple also operates a recycling programme by mail, which covers a wide variety of products and is not offered in-store. If a customer wishes to trade in an old broken device for which there is no monetary value, they can do so as a simple recycle.

Luke said...  @  10/10/2016 4:00:15 AM
I'm at Liverpool University http://www.cfastresults.com/why-cfast/ tore buy duloxetine online flames These scientists are such liars. First off if these so called scientists looked into the history of climate change they would see that global cooling killed quite a few people. That is not a prediction but fact. Now the history of know climate change trumps their predictions any day.

Marcos said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:43 PM
Who would I report to?

Carmelo said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:41 PM
Thanks for calling

Rickey said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:38 PM
real beauty page

Patric said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:36 PM
I was born in Australia but grew up in England

Getjoy said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:33 PM
Where's the nearest cash machine?

Jefferson said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:32 PM
Free medical insurance

Jamal said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:30 PM
I work with computers

Brant said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:28 PM
Recorded Delivery

said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:25 PM

Lightsoul said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:22 PM
I'm doing a phd in chemistry

said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:19 PM

Gabriel said...  @  8/31/2016 7:24:16 PM
I sing in a choir

Leslie said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:16 PM
When do you want me to start?

Lewis said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:13 PM
good material thanks

Emanuel said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:12 PM
I'll call back later

Buford said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:10 PM
I'll call back later

Snoopy said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:07 PM
I'm doing a phd in chemistry

said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:06 PM

Jamison said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:03 PM
A few months

Javier said...  @  8/31/2016 5:04:01 PM
Sorry, I'm busy at the moment

Freelove said...  @  8/31/2016 5:03:59 PM
How long are you planning to stay here?

Rickie said...  @  8/31/2016 5:03:58 PM
Have you read any good books lately?

Peter said...  @  8/31/2016 5:03:56 PM
Do you need a work permit?

Brant said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:45 PM
real beauty page

Amelia said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:43 PM
Very funny pictures

Lowell said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:42 PM
We've got a joint account

Eugenio said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:39 PM
Will I have to work on Saturdays?

Herman said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:37 PM
I love this site

Gerald said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:35 PM
Do you know each other?

David said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:34 PM
Where's the nearest cash machine?

Willis said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:32 PM
Whereabouts in are you from?

Crazyfrog said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:30 PM
I've only just arrived

Emmitt said...  @  8/31/2016 4:07:28 PM
The manager

Edwardo said...  @  8/31/2016 2:38:03 PM
I'd like to send this parcel to

said...  @  8/31/2016 2:38:01 PM

Jefferey said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:59 PM
I'm interested in

said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:57 PM

Alvaro said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:56 PM
I sing in a choir

said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:55 PM

Dustin said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:54 PM
I'm a member of a gym

Mathew said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:52 PM
I'm sorry, he's

Alfonso said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:50 PM
this post is fantastic

Hailey said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:48 PM
How many weeks' holiday a year are there?

Forrest said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:47 PM
I'd like to apply for this job

said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:45 PM

Kristopher said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:43 PM
I work for a publishers

Houston said...  @  8/31/2016 2:37:41 PM
I'd like to pay this cheque in, please

Mark said...  @  2/9/2016 9:57:27 PM
iCQ7zW http://www.FyLitCl7Pf7kjQdDUOLQOuaxTXbj5iNG.com

Mark said...  @  2/9/2016 9:57:26 PM
lalnBI http://www.FyLitCl7Pf7kjQdDUOLQOuaxTXbj5iNG.com

Mark said...  @  2/9/2016 9:57:21 PM
YNiRfy http://www.FyLitCl7Pf7kjQdDUOLQOuaxTXbj5iNG.com

Mark said...  @  2/9/2016 9:57:06 PM
GSHFkp http://www.FyLitCl7Pf7kjQdDUOLQOuaxTXbj5iNG.com

Mark said...  @  2/9/2016 9:58:51 AM
tVrFUa http://www.FyLitCl7Pf7kjQdDUOLQOuaxTXbj5iNG.com

Aliviana said...  @  1/21/2015 2:01:50 PM
Almost all of whatever you state is aninoishtsgly accurate and it makes me wonder the reason why I had not looked at this with this light before. Your piece truly did switch the light on for me personally as far as this topic goes. However at this time there is actually 1 point I am not too cozy with and whilst I make an effort to reconcile that with the actual core idea of the position, let me observe exactly what all the rest of your visitors have to say.Very well done. http://pgznsxhoyko.com [url=http://uocacogsykp.com]uocacogsykp[/url] [link=http://gsqsej.com]gsqsej[/link]

Hilal said...  @  1/19/2015 12:49:37 PM
Dynamic online local news is not easy to do. WestportNow does a dcenet job of reporting on Town Hall, but they are pretty thin on sports. Many of their posts are submitted by readers or advocates like Jim Cameron. Woog has a great insight on the people of Westport, but is thin on news. The Westport News is stale it's Monday and there are no weekend sports reports?The world of online news is in transition. The New York Times is going to charge a fee. Murdoch is limiting access to his reports. Blogs are springing up everywhere. I'll keep reading these, and hopefully a new model will emerge that merges news reporting with local flavors. and reader comments!

Rafeek said...  @  3/22/2013 6:26:20 PM
Overall RatingFriendlinessProfessionalismResponsivenessJ Phillip’s sophisticated use of tgoenclohy and the Internet delivers better results than other real estate brokerages. We listed our house with J Phillip during the slow winter months at the bottom of the market. In less than a month we had two offers, and had closed the deal in less than three months. The final sale price was actually above the initial listing price recommended by the other brokers!

 
Post a Comment 
Name:   
Email:     
 
 

 
facebook