Although it is an attempt to diagnose cancer as early as possible, mammography screening is not breast cancer prevention. Oftentimes, these screenings can lead to over-diagnosis and overtreatment as well as severe anxiety and depression, which tend to be side effects of cancer diagnosis. In addition, a U.S. government laboratory found that the radiation from tests like the mammogram can change the environment around the breast cells. Within a few weeks after exposure, breast cells start to prematurely age and can be filled with pre-cancerous mutated cells from the radiation.
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that has been used for quite some time to detect prostate cancer has been criticized for years. After studying prostate tissue samples collected over the 20 years that the high PSA test result has been the standard for prostate removal, a group of Stanford scientists concluded that the PSA test doesn’t indicate anything more than the size of the prostate gland. Many experts agree that PSA testing tends to be unreliable and useless in accurately diagnosing prostate cancer. Of the men who initially test negative for prostate cancer, 33 percent actually have cancer that has been missed during testing. If the PSA test does come back positive, a biopsy is usually the next step, which can cause more issues, including infection. Instead of the harm that having and being diagnosed with cancer can invoke, there are some substantial medical advances.
There are many research and development innovators hard at work coming up with solutions that will push cancer healthcare toward a precision-based model. For example, a group of biochemists at Purdue University discovered a way to detect elusive substances in blood that may signal the presence of cancer and possibly other diseases as well.
A new study by investigators at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center suggests that the advancement of precision medicine is at a point where a majority of children with brain tumors will be positively impacted. Findings from the largest clinical study testing pediatric brain tumors resulted in showing that it is clinically feasible for genetic abnormalities to be found and the results can help guide the patient’s treatment as well. In the past decade, treatment of certain types of leukemia, digestive system tumors, and breast cancer, among other malignancies, have been found to significantly improve treatment with targeted therapies.
What’s more, targeted cancer diagnostic and treatment methods can provide patients with more accurate results and better care, as well as lower costs. This innovative technology can quickly identify and treat many types of malignant cancers. For the first time ever, doctors can assess the lowest minimum treatment necessary to provide a high-quality life for affected persons.
These developments in precision-based cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, like simple blood and urine tests, will increase accuracy, improve patient outcomes and quality of life, along with saving billions of dollars for patients, third-party payers, and the healthcare system.
Paul Crowe is CEO of NuView Life Sciences and managing partner of San Diego Gamma Knife Center. Crowe is an experienced healthcare executive who, over the past 40 years, participated in the commercialization of new diagnostic imaging technologies such as diagnostic ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography (PET). These technologies provided physicians with better tools to more effectively diagnose and subsequently treat chronic human diseases, improve patient outcomes, and lower healthcare costs.