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CANCER SCREENING

ANCHOR LEAD:  THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY AND OTHERS ARE RETHINKING SOME CANCER SCREENING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Should you be screened for breast or prostate cancer?  That question is being seriously reconsidered by the American Cancer Society and other professional organizations, turning over years of recommendations.  Bill Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, frames up the debate.

NELSON:  The challenge with screening is that you’re trying to detect cancers when they’re very small, very early on in their development and they’re most likely to respond to our best treatments, surgical removal, radiation therapy.  What’s challenging about that is that as you design strategies to do so, you can often find very small cancers that don’t grow and threaten life in quite the same fashion as other cancers that have a more aggressive agenda.  And so the worry of course is that you may be overtreating some people who wouldn’t have needed this type of aggressive treatment or wouldn’t have needed it that early on in the course of the disease.           :32

For now, Nelson says talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of screening.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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