Popular Science published a piece recently discussing advancements being made in cancer screening that could potentially allow for early detection of more forms of cancer and the debate within the medical community over how these tools will best serve patients. As cancer screening tools continue to improve, and much broader cancer screening may be available in the near future, medical professionals are finding themselves at odds about whether early detection is always best for the patient.
The article explains that while early detection of many forms of cancer will improve a patient’s odds of survival, medical professionals are grappling with the potential harm that could come from detection of pre-cancer and early cancer that wouldn’t ever do any harm to a patient during their lifetime as well as cancers that do not respond well to treatment, such as pancreatic cancer.
The piece goes on provide insight from physicians both for and against the advancement of these early detection tools. In the end, once these tests are available to the public it will be up to each individual to decide whether they would want to know they have a type of cancer that can’t or doesn’t need to be treated, but many of us will be looking to our physicians for their professional medical opinion to help us decide.