Cancer Society, in Shift, Has Concerns on Screenings
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society:
"I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated."It's not just that screening may be a nuisance, a costly nuisance, there's admission it may be harmful:
[Screenings find] cancers that do not need to be found because they would never spread and kill or even be noticed if left alone. That has led to a huge increase in cancer diagnoses because, without screening, those innocuous cancers would go undetected.Cancer goes away. All by itself. You can't beat that. We should be putting all this screening money into finding out what makes cancer "go away," and which tumors are actionable.
The very idea that some cancers are not dangerous and some might actually go away on their own can be hard to swallow, researchers say.
Screening has the problem called overdiagnosis - labeling innocuous tumors cancer and treating them as though they could be lethal when in fact they are not dangerous.
"Overdiagnosis is pure, unadulterated harm," [said Dr. Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the NIH.]