Monthly Archives: October 2010

Does PSA Testing Really Reduce The Risk Of Prostate Cancer Recurrence?

I don’t normally like to criticize the work of others in this blog, other than pointing out from time to time where I may disagree with a particular viewpoint or conclusion.  But an abstract that is going to be presented this coming Monday at a meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology has received some degree of coverage in the press, and those reports are exceptionally uncritical of what I consider a flawed study.


The headlines are suggesting that the study demonstrates that even though PSA tests don’t necessarily save lives, they do lead to a reduction in cancer recurrence, and therefore are valuable.  I am of the opinion that no such conclusion can be drawn from this research.


I have no problem with authors doing research and presenting abstracts.  That’s what we do in medical science.  But when studies are promoted, and the foundation of the conclusion is very suspect, and the press does nothing to address the obvious problems with the study, then I become a bit upset. [more]


I need to emphasize that this is an abstract at a medical meeting, and not a final publication in a peer reviewed journal.  And, I … Continue reading →

A New Drug Brings Real Hope For Some Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer

You don’t often get to say this when it comes to new discoveries in cancer treatment, but a report in today’s New England Journal of Medicine confirms the findings that a new targeted therapy called crizotinib is indeed what we refer to as a “game changer” when it comes to the treatment of non-small lung cancer.


This news has even larger implications for cancer-related clinical trials of new drugs, demonstrating how well-done science may someday substantially decrease the time and cost of finding out whether or not new cancer treatments work.


But all of this excitement comes with the word “CAUTION!” written large on the cover: the benefits of the drug-although substantial-are limited to a very, very small number of patients.  However, if you are one of those patients, this drug may be of considerable value. [more]


Non-small lung cancer will lead to an estimated 157,300 deaths in Americans in 2010 according to statistics from the American Cancer Society.  Most of those lung cancers are directly related to smoking, but in a number of circumstances there is no history of smoking.


Treatments for non-small cell lung cancer-which is the most common form of lung cancer and … Continue reading →

Evidence Not Innuendo: The Mammogram Debate

The release of two major studies on mammography over the past week has many wondering what to believe. The issues surrounding breast cancer screening recommendations and the science behind those recommendations can be difficult for most of us to understand.


Now a leading medical reporter on a national news program has made a public allegation questioning the motivations behind our positions on screening mammography, claiming that our carefully considered, evidence based guidelines are influenced by corporate support.


The American Cancer Society has learned to expect having shots taken at us from those on the fringe.  But these allegations of conflicts of interest come from a reporter I have worked with, talked with, and admire and respect for the quality of her reporting.  No matter how difficult this is for me personally, I feel it is important to set the record straight on the issue. [more]


As many of you know, Dr. Nancy Snyderman is the medical expert who provides information and advice regularly on NBC, and specifically in this case on the Today Show. Here is what she said yesterday morning during a report on a study released yesterday in the journal Cancer, which concluded that screening … Continue reading →