Biology: November 2007 Archives

 

November 3, 2007

Ezra Klein points out that while the US death rate from prostate cancer is more or less the same as in other developed nations, the survival rate is a lot higher because the US screening program is so effective.

Figure from: Cancer Research UK

A natural question to ask at this point is: what's the point of a massive screening program if it doesn't improve the death rate? There's more to the issue here than the cost of the screening, since you need to followup with other tests, eventually culminating in a biopsy, and then treatment isn't fun. And of course it's probably kind of stressful to find out you have prostate cancer, even if it's not eventually going to kill you.