Sometimes you really wonder what is behind certain medical research. Are these people really believing that they are doing something good? Or are they just trying to create more patients? After all the cancer screening tests that already exist scientists have now developed a test that can predict who will get lung cancer and who won’t. How this can be a good thing is unclear to me.
“which smokers and ex-smokers are most likely to get lung cancer,” There is a statistical problem here. Countries with high rates of smokers do not have substantially higher numbers of lung cancer. And loads of people with lung cancer never smoked. This makes the correlation between the two quite weak. So a test that can predict who will get lung cancer based on smoking habits can never be reliable. This is a very common problem in scientific research: if the basic assumption is incorrect, the rest of the research automatically becomes useless.
“the lack of a safe nationwide screening process contributes to this problem.” This assumes that screening programs are successful in saving lives, but it has been proven many times that the mantra “early detection saves lives” is incorrect. Considering how many people die way too early from the cancer treatments it would be more correct to say that early detection takes lives. But I get side-tracked.
“She said in seven cases out of 10, the prediction was correct.” That means that 1/3 of the predictions was incorrect. That sounds like a pretty useless test to me, but if this were true it would be a better test that most medical tests. “on the basis of a variety of risk factors” I would like to see the whole list and I would like to know how the results are interpreted. This kind of juggling with numbers has a lot of options for adjusting the results to the need. Considering that cancer diagnoses are not particularly reliable and considering that many cancers disappear on their own, I see a lot of problems.
“But unlike breast, cervical and bowel cancer, regular screening for lung cancer can do more harm than good.” Someone has missed the scientific facts here. Breast cancer screenings are so bad that some countries have already completely abandoned them. Bowel cancer screening only leads to a lot of unnecessary colonoscopies, a dangerous procedure. And though pap smears had some value, they are replaced now by HPV test, the most useless test of all. Add to that the high numbers of false positives and all cancer screenings do a lot more harm than good.
“Dr Weber said the tool could be used in the future to determine which heavy smokers” Dr. Weber, can you first prove to me that smoking actually causes lung cancer? As I stated before, the correlation is quite weak, so you will have to give me something that explains this. Not “must be” science, but facts. Without that your research is completely useless, no matter the outcomes.
“test the effectiveness of CT scan screening among high-smokers identified by the algorithm.” CT scans cause cancer, so this sounds like a bad idea. Wouldn’t it be likely that the screening causes the cancer, just like with mammograms? Oncology is full of cancer causing treatments and screenings and I don’t think there is really a need to add any more.
Dr. Fong states one more time that other cancer screenings are so successful, showing that the has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. The person who leads a trial doesn’t know what cancer is, what causes it, how dangerous and useless screenings are and that the number of people who die from cancer keeps increasing. Why should we take one word seriously of anything he says? This has nothing to do with science. It’s just a fanciful way to keep some researchers in a job.