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Are Many Early Cancers Being Overtreated?

It may be an unthinkable notion for those raised on the message that early cancer detection saves lives, but it is possible that tumors are actually being found too early.

Cancer screenings can unearth tumors that never would have threatened the person's life.  But their aren’t good ways to tell in advance which tumors won't be dangerous.

The Washington Post reports:

“Most men over 50 have had a PSA blood test to check for [prostate cancer] even though major medical groups don't recommend routine PSAs, worried they may do more harm than good ...  A study of 76,000 U.S. men, published last year, concluded annual PSAs didn't save lives.”

Mammography is also increasing diagnoses of tumors deemed very low risk. A found that nearly one-quarter of breast tumors found by mammograms may be overdiagnosed.

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