A new saliva test could detect cancer early and this is assumed to save thousands of lives. But we have heard this kind of stuff before, so it’s best not to take this seriously. Maybe it will detect cancer earlier, but even if so that doesn’t make it a good test. For it will mean that loads of people will be diagnosed with cancer who otherwise would never have known it. Because the cancer is not dangerous or because it would have disappeared before it could grow too big. But most of all it has shown again and again that early detection does not save any lives. It would make a cure easier if patients would start natural treatments, but with conventional treatments early detection just increases the risk of an early death.
“ability to detect biomarkers for a specific form of lung cancer.” This is actually funny. This test can only detect biomarkers, not cancer. And it’s only for a specific form of lung cancer. So even if this test would do what it’s supposed to do, then still it would only be useful for a small number of people. So it’s interesting how they calculate to get the thousands of lives saved.
“cost effective and non-invasive.” The test indeed will be non-invasive, but the problem is that it never stops there. This is clearly not a very reliable test, so any positive test needs to be followed by other, very invasive, tests. And as it’s likely that there will be many false positives this is hardly cost effective. But the number of false positives are usually brushed under the carpet, though this is a very big problem in cancer screening.
“There is a drug that is very effective in prolonging the life of these individuals” That sounds like it’s a good thing, but that’s not necessarily so. Even if chemo would be the only way to prolong life, then there is something like quality of life. And few people who get chemo will have a high quality of life. In most cases the extra time gained is in such bad health that most people wouldn’t choose for it, if they would have a free choice and full information. But oncologists rarely talk about the quality of life. They only tell people they might live a few months longer. Just like they don’t tell patients that the drugs are also very likely to speed up death. Informed consent in oncology is largely non-existent, simply because the patients don’t get proper information.
“simply too frail to go through that procedure.” But you would give them chemo? That hardly sounds like a good medical practice. “has also demonstrated impressive accuracy.” I would like to see exact numbers, as accuracy is usually something completely different for an oncologist than for the patient. Mammograms give about 12% false positives and a similar number of false negatives, but still this is considered a pretty good accuracy. And a PSA test is wrong most of the time, but still generally used to screen for prostate cancer. So don’t blame me if I don’t trust cancer tests.
“pick up cancers before they would cause any problems for the individual,” I have already mentioned the problems with this. You basically tell a healthy person that they are sick and should immediately start with a treatment that might kill them. It’s a nice money making scheme, but you cannot possibly call this health care.
“like any other screening test, we need to know that they’re sensitive and that they’re reliable,” As I said, cancer screen tests are notoriously unreliable and give an awful lot of false positives. So what on earth does professor Aranda mean with this? Where is the positive development? Sorry, but I just don’t see it. Adding another unreliable test to the list hardly seems to be a good thing.
“meaning that they would perhaps reduce the amount of death” Professor, perhaps you don’t believe in this test yourself? You sounds very hesitant, like you know this test is useless. “potential benefits were for early detection” So they don’t know if it will actually work at all and if it will do the patients any good. Great test. And as mentioned above, early detection doesn’t save any lives anyway. So what on earth is this about?
“curing cancer really rests on that whole question of early diagnosis,” Curing cancer? Who are you fooling, professor? You know very well that conventional treatments don’t cure anyone. At least if you define cure as “after the last treatment you have the same chance as anyone else to get cancer”. Oncologists know that they don’t offer cures. That’s why they usually avoid this word and just talk about “remission”. Smoke screens are the tool of the trade in oncology.
What I would like to know is if professor Aranda would take this test herself. And if she would get radiation and chemo herself. If she is anything like her colleagues the chances are around 80% that she wouldn’t do it.
Let’s face it: modern oncology is not based on any kind of science. It’s based on myths, lies, deception and many billions of dollars a year. If patients would just know how to ask their oncologist the right questions they would never ever accept any conventional treatment. But unfortunately many are not able to give up the idea that the doctor knows best. Even if the doctor is a dangerous quack.