Cancer screening is not enough to extend life expectancy. Most cancer screening tests “DO NOT prolong a person’s life span,” a review of more than 2 million patients claims, but early testing reduces the risk of dying from cancer.
A review of clinical trials found that there is little evidence that cancer screening prolongs life. Screenings include mammography and colonoscopy for breast and colon cancer.
Conventional cancer screening tests aimed at early detection and treatment of the disease may not be as effective in extending a person’s life expectancy as previously thought.
2.1 million people were analyzed.
Researchers studied clinical trials of 2.1 million people who took six common types of cancer screening tests, followed them for 15 years and compared the life expectancy of those who did and did not get tested for the disease.
They found that screening for just one disease—colon cancer—seemed to help prolong a person’s life, giving them just over three months more than their peers who didn’t get screened.
But experts say that doesn’t mean you should stop having a mammogram or other screening, as other evidence has shown that screening reduces the risk of dying from cancer.
The study looked at deaths from all causes, not just cancer, so there may be more reasons why screening doesn’t prolong someone’s life.
For example, some tests are associated with harmful consequences, such as the risk of colon perforation during a colonoscopy or a heart attack after prostate removal.
There is also a risk that the tests could give a false negative and therefore create a false sense of security, the researchers said. Dr. William Dahut, chief scientist of the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the study, said cancer screening tests are not designed to increase life expectancy, but rather, their goal is to reduce premature death caused by cancer, according to the Daily Mail.
Also Read: Why You Can’t Sleep 1 in 10 people suffer from chronic insomnia
Life expectancy is estimated at 80 years.
Dahut explained that if a person’s life expectancy at birth is estimated at 80 years, cancer screening can prevent them from dying of cancer at age 65, but that does not necessarily mean they will live to 90 instead of the estimated 80.
“No one says, ‘If you get screened for cancer, you’ll live to be 100.’ But we do know that cancer is the second leading cause of death, the leading cause of death under the age of 85,” said Dr. Daut.
Physicians in the US recommend certain tests to people of all ages or to people with certain risk factors, such as a family history of cancer or certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking.
See also: Why it is very dangerous to live in a house with dry air. Reasons why a pot of water was placed next to the bed
Early detection is important
A meta-analysis of more than a dozen clinical trials, long touted as a way to detect and diagnose cancer early, when it’s easier to treat, called into question the effectiveness of six common screening procedures.
In a study published Tuesday, researchers at the University of Oslo, Sweden, analyzed 18 clinical trials that included more than 2.1 million American cancer patients over a decade.
The meta-analysis looked at six different types of screening for cancer patients who did and did not pass the tests.
Tests performed included mammography for breast cancer, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) for colorectal cancer, computed tomography (CT) to detect lung cancer in smokers and ex-smokers, and a specific antigen (PSA) test. ) in prostate cancer.
The preventive test that the researchers found added the most life expectancy was sigmoidoscopy, a colon cancer screening test that involves examining the rectum, colon, and large intestine using an endoscope inserted into the anus.
In patients who passed this test, life expectancy increased by 110 days. In addition, the life expectancy of patients who passed a screening test for lung cancer increased by 107 days.
However, no significant additional days of life were found in patients who underwent mammography (zero days), PSA test (37 days), colonoscopy (37 days), or FOBT (zero days).
Preventive procedures in the US are encouraged by much of the medical community and are covered by many insurance companies. However, this study, along with previous data, suggests that more screenings do not mean more lives saved at the population level.
While these tests are being promoted, little attention has been paid to the potential drawbacks of preventive measures.
See also: Why do we laugh. Laughter boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of high blood pressure. What role has he created for himself in the world
What you need to know about cancer screening
Researchers at the University of Oslo noticed that cancer screening is not harmless. While many people will benefit from these tests without incident, they can cause health problems for some.
Overtesting can also lead to overdiagnosis. Some people who are screened for cancer, if found, may undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment to treat slow-growing cancer that will not harm that person in their lifetime.
In addition, the more tests that are done, the greater the chance of false positives.
In addition to mental stress and anxiety, this can lead to costly and unnecessary additional examinations. But the researchers stressed that cancer screening should be encouraged.
“We are not saying that all types of screening should be abandoned. Some tests may be helpful, but “institutions and policies that promote cancer screening as a lifesaver may find other ways to encourage screening,” the researchers note.
They added that their estimates were also “uncertain” and that there were wide ranges in life expectancy.
For example, although the review found that sigmoidoscopy was most likely to extend life by 110 days, the total length of time ranged from zero to 274 days.
While screenings cannot prolong a person’s life, they can detect cancer early enough to give that person a better chance of survival and a healthier life throughout their original life.
Stay up to date with the latest news. Also keep an eye on DCMedical on Google News.