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Attempted clarification by Cancer Society

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Excerpt from Dr. Len Lichtenfeld’s blog posting, criticizing both the JAMA article and the NYT article this week that raised questions about screening.

“This was an opinion piece, not original research. It reiterated arguments that have been made before, and are certainly valid. But they represent the thoughts of several respected scientists, but not all who are involved in trying to reduce the burden of cancer in this country and throughout the world.

And while we may agree with the comments about prostate cancer, we do not agree with the negativistic comments about breast cancer. As noted in the New York Times article, when the public gets a mixed message it takes that as a reason not to move forward with the most effective breast cancer screening modality we have available today. …

The sad part is that the women in this country may only read the New York Times, and leave it at that. They will miss the nuances of the experts’ arguments. They will not read the conclusions of the JAMA study, and if they do they probably won’t have the working knowledge that would put it in context.

Hopefully they won’t miss the nuances that could impact their lives. That would be a tragedy. But such is the risk of living in a sound bite world.”

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Dr. Val

October 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Len’s piece was well reasoned and clear. It’s true that some of our screening tests aren’t as cost effective as we’d like. But a much more interesting story (for the NYT et al.) is why robotic surgery is being so aggressively marketed (even in cardiac cases where there’s a disadvantage to patients over traditional surgery)?