It remains an endless source of well paid work: finding a relationship between cancer and genes. It doesn’t cure one patient and it doesn’t prevent cancer at all, but for cancer researchers that’s an unimportant detail. Queensland researchers have identified genetic variations they hope will make it easier to assess whether patients have an aggressive form of prostate cancer. See the two words “they hope”? Cancer researchers have an awful lot of hope and expectations, but never any useful results.
“variations affected the level of prostate-specific antigens (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate gland cells.” And there are many other things that affect the level of PSA. Which is the reason why a PSA test is useless. Many men with elevated PSA don’t have cancer and many men with prostate cancer don’t have an elevated PSA level. But still doctors believe that PSA is somehow important.
“Increased levels indicate the likely presence of prostate cancer.” That’s a stretch. Increased levels also indicate the likely presence of inflammation. Or the likely presence of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Or the likely presence of a bicycle. Or the likely presence of a variety of other things that irritate the prostate. But doctors like to forget these annoying details. But if research is almost entirely based on these PSA levels, then you can expect it to be a lot of rubbish.
“Those two genetic variations we are talking about now are present within the protein coding region which actually makes the PSA protein,” So what they are actually saying is that they have found a genetic variation that influences the production of PSA protein. But it’s unclear how that relates to prostate cancer, considering that the correlation between those two is weak.
“to help determine those patients with the aggressive disease and those who just need to be observed.” Wait a moment, for this goes very fast. If a genetic variation can cause easier production of PSA, then what does that have to do with the level of agressiveness of the cancer? So far I only read about the PSA production.
“the third most common cause of cancer death.” This sounds like an advertisement for a test, but it has nothing to do with reality. Most men who have prostate cancer die with the disease, not from it. But if you count everyone who dies after this diagnosis as “dead from prostate cancer”, then you are simply committing statistical fraud. The cancer industry is very experienced in this, so I’m sure Cancer Council can somehow “prove” this statement. But that doesn’t make it true.
“Anything we can do to improve the patient experience of men in our community is really important work,” Then I have a few suggestions. Stop with PSA testing on healthy men, as that does an awful lot more harm than it can ever do good. That goes for all cancer screening programs, but this blog post is about prostate cancer. A positive test is often followed by a biopsy, which cuts a potential tumour open and spreads the cancer cells. That simply means that someone who might never even have known he had prostate cancer now at once has cancer cells flowing through his whole body.
“We have tests at the moment that can detect prostate cancer” And which test is that? PSA is completely unreliable and biopsies are not a test, but a very invasive and dangerous procedure. “can guide clinicians on how to treat it, ” Treat it? Like with a highly mutilating TURP (Transurethral resection of the prostate)? I wonder how many men diagnosed with prostate cancer are told the likelihood of getting incontinent and impotent from this surgery. I think many would reconsider their options.
“we want more detailed information.” You can want more detailed information, but that’s not what anyone needs. What the people need is that you stop selling fiction and stop mutilating patients for money. But unfortunately it will still take a while till that happens. But don’t worry: more and more people start to see what this kind of research really is and they opt for alternatives that help them, not mutilate them.