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An interesting bioethics debate

Does early detection work? __The New York Times__ today posts a linkurl:story about Claudia Henschke,;http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/31/health/31prof.html a radiology professor at Weill Cornell Medical College who?s pushing for routine CT scans to detect lung cancer earlier. The phrases are so well trodden, they?re often taken at face value: ?We?re lucky we caught it in time,? or ?If only we?d found it sooner.? The problem with simply accepting that earlier detection means better survival i

Brendan Maher
Does early detection work? __The New York Times__ today posts a linkurl:story about Claudia Henschke,;http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/31/health/31prof.html a radiology professor at Weill Cornell Medical College who?s pushing for routine CT scans to detect lung cancer earlier. The phrases are so well trodden, they?re often taken at face value: ?We?re lucky we caught it in time,? or ?If only we?d found it sooner.? The problem with simply accepting that earlier detection means better survival is that it?s largely just an assumption. Yes, evidence strongly suggests that colonoscopy prevents death from colon cancer. But colon cancer and lung cancer are different. All cancers are different. To make a recommendation of routine screening, surely there should be some data showing that it doesn?t 1) raise false alarms over small but benign tumors or 2) miss fast growing, aggressive tumors that may be responsible for most cancer deaths. We?ll have more on this in November as...

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