Category Archives: Cancer

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

The treatment of prostate cancer has been uncertain for some time. A paper in the May 5th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine examines two approaches to the disease – watchful waiting versus radical prostatectomy. A Scandinavian group observed 695 men with early prostate cancer for 15 years. They conclude that Radical prostatectomy was…

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Cancer survivors in United States increasing by hundreds of thousands per year

The above is the title of a story published by the AP. Why are there more cancer survivors? Here is the explanation offered by the story: More people are surviving cancer, in part, because of earlier detection and better treatment, they (health officials at the Centers for Disease Control) said. In 2007, there were about…

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Reform School

If you would understand why reform of our medical system is so difficult consider the case of the angiogenesis inhibitor Avastin. The drug had been used in combination with other therapies to treat metastatic breast cancer. “The FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that it is recommending removing the breast cancer indication for bevacizumab (Avastin)…

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New Data on the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Axillary node dissection has been the standard of care for patients with breast cancer who have early metastatic disease as indicated by a positive axillary lymph node biopsy. In other words, an axillary lymph node is biopsied; if it contains  cancer cells the axilla on the affected side is dissected and its lymph nodes are removed. A new…

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More on Screening for Breast Cancer

The United States Preventive Services Task Force last Monday released new guidelines for breast cancer screening. Predictably, the Task Force’s recommendations for less vigorous screening has resulted in a chorus of dissent verging on outrage from a variety of special interest groups. The American Cancer Society says it’s not going to change its recommendations for…

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The Limitations of Cancer Screening

A recent article in the JAMA has received a lot of coverage in the lay press. It analyzes screening for breast and prostate cancer. Critics of both screening tests (including me) have, over many years, pointed out the problems inherent in screening for any disease, but most specifically these two. We mostly have been ignored….

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Early Diagnosis of Cancer

The sad news that Justice Ginsburg has pancreatic cancer has resurfaced the issue of cancer survival data. Epidemiologists have been trying to convince oncologists for decades that survival data are meaningless. And they more or less have, though recidivism is common among the latter. US News has an article that shows that we’ve still got…

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Prostate Cancer Screening

A few weeks ago the local NBC affiliate promoted an area wide program of free prostate cancer screening. PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing was offered by the city’s two largest medical centers at no charge to all comers. So great was the zeal displayed by the commentators that I’m sure women would have been tested…

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