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Should patients be allowed to self-refer for cancer tests?


the previous anonymous commentator invokes two suppositions' Firstly a very unlikely scenario where all diagnosed cases survive the same length of time. In fact a random Poisson distribution of survival times occurs. Secondly, a 'lead-time' bias - of 2 days in his example. It is well-recognised that lead-time adds an apparent, not a real, increase in survival time ( by bringing diagnosis earlier, but NOT delaying death). This is often not properly accounted for in tendentious reports of screening program 'success'. A proper randomised controlled trial will show real differences however .. if they exist. Apparently breast screening, psa screening, and aortic aneurysm screening all fail the RCT 'total-mortality' test. But surely it is only right and proper that 'direct-patient-access' be put to proper pilot trials with specified control groups. So what if it does prove cheap safe and effective ? You GPs could then spend more time with your heartsinks, or join me in retirement !!

Posted date

14 Feb 2015

Posted time