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UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

Unknown Lamer posted about 1 month ago | from the coming-to-a-patent-office-near-you dept.

Medicine 63

An anonymous reader writes UK researchers say they've devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test looks at white blood cells and measures the damage caused to their DNA when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA), which is known to damage DNA. The results of the empirical study show a distinction between the damage to the white blood cells from patients with cancer, with pre-cancerous conditions and from healthy patients. "Whilst the numbers of people we tested are, in epidemiological terms, quite small (208), in molecular epidemiological terms, the results are powerful," said the team's lead researcher. "We've identified significant differences between the healthy volunteers, suspected cancer patients and confirmed cancer patients of mixed ages at a statistically significant level .... This means that the possibility of these results happening by chance is 1 in 1000." The research is published online in the FASEB Journal, the U.S. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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So... (2)

AlCapwn (1536173) | about 1 month ago | (#47555119)

We'll see this technology applied in... 20 years? Reading /. is sometimes painful.

Re:So... (1)

Adriax (746043) | about 1 month ago | (#47555175)

And until it does reach the public for real, expect a flood of scams citing this as proof their quick test works. Just send a drop of blood and $10,000 and get your cancer test results in a couple days!
The sooner the real thing goes through trials the better. Assuming it does lead to a legitimate test, that is.

I wonder if the homeopaths are going to twist this into a cure? Dilute UV light in water, instant all cancer cure.
At least it would be a step up from the usual bottled water they sell. This stuff would atleast be UV sanitized.

Re: Just send a drop of blood and $10,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555219)

> Just send a drop of blood and $10,000 and get your cancer test results in a couple days!
Result: Reply hazy try again.

p.s. lol: captcha "unsure"

Re: So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555263)

Don't do it! Everyone will be diagnosed. Not only is diagnosis apart of the problem (death sentence stress factors). But would you surprised how beneficial this would be financially to this grim reaper industry? Would you also be surprised that dying is the baine of our existence?

Don't do it - you will live longer.

Diagnosed dying at time of conception.

Re: So... (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556089)

Don't do it! Everyone will be diagnosed.

Bizarre trolling aside, You have the right idea - Virtually everyone over the age of 50 has dozens of "cancerous" cell clusters scattered around their bodies, all more-or-less harmless unless juuust the right combination of environmental conditions triggers a few to start growing (and spreading) uncontrollably.

I find it easy to believe that a universal test for "cancer" would have a near-perfect success rate, because nearly everyone has it, to some degree. I find the negative side much harder to believe, because it means differentiating between cancer-but-harmless and cancer-gonna-kill-you.

Or looked at another way, consider recent changes in attitude regarding breast and prostate cancers. 20 years ago, detecting either meant immediately scheduling a radical mastectomy/prostatectomy. Today, unless you have a family history of aggressive cancers, your oncologist will likely suggest watching and waiting for at least a few months to see if it actually does anything more that sit there harmlessly. Yet, even if it does - still cancer. Much like we don't universally vaccinate people against TB because it makes TB antibody tests diagnostically useless, I see this test as having the same issue, accurate but useless.

Re:So... (3, Informative)

Edis Krad (1003934) | about 1 month ago | (#47555267)

From TFA

The University of Bradford has filed patents for the technology and a spin-out company, Oncascan, has been established to commercialise the research.

And they already have a website [oncascan.com] running.

I'd say under 5 years before we start seeing this applied in the wild.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555331)

We'll see this technology applied in... 20 years? Reading /. is sometimes painful.

I dont know if this would be the case - it's a test, not a mediation.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555539)

Sooner, if it works. Remember, it's a test not a treatment, and it's non-invasive, therefore safe; doesn't need years of trial before approval. It's the medicines and other treatments that take forever to get approved.

Re:So... (1)

rew (6140) | about 1 month ago | (#47555807)

They found a statistical relationship between the results from "normal" people and "people with cancer". This means that it MIGHT be possible to develop this into a test.

But this "result" (a statistical difference) might be that they got an average score of 98 +/- 10 for the healty people and 102 +/- 10 for the people-with-cancer. So someone who scores 100, healty or has cancer? 105? Can still go both ways.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557361)

The other nasty little statistical issue that crops up is that statistical significance does not mean clinical significance. If you use a simple, easy (and typically incorrect) statistical test like the p-value, you may well get a difference between the 'cancer' and 'no cancer' arms. It may mean that the test can tell you that you have a 5% chance of getting (or having) cancer or a 6% chance. Those differences may be statistically significant, but are clinically the same.

Cancer? (-1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 1 month ago | (#47555127)

Cancer of the anus! I hope!

Re: Cancer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555301)

Listen mate. That's not funny. As a kid when I got my tonsils out they stuck me in the arse cancer ward full of dying and farting old people (seriously the ward stank like shit).
Very traumatic experience you insensitive bastard.

Federation of Am... Soc.. for Exper... Biology? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 1 month ago | (#47555151)

How many Societies for Experimental Biology does a country -- even a big one -- need?

Re:Federation of Am... Soc.. for Exper... Biology? (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | about 1 month ago | (#47555291)

27, according to their website [faseb.org] . They do cover a wide range of disciplines at least. I was going to note that the Genetics Society of America and the American Society of Human Genetics seem like they'd have a lot of overlap, but then I noticed that they're headquartered at the same address, so I imagine they came to a similar conclusion at some point.

Re:Federation of Am... Soc.. for Exper... Biology? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 1 month ago | (#47555347)

so I imagine they came to a similar conclusion at some point.

Twelve other Societies and the FASEB also have the same Bethesda address, but different phone numbers. Maybe FASEB is contracting out administrative functions?

Re:Federation of Am... Soc.. for Exper... Biology? (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | about 1 month ago | (#47555447)

Ah, I didn't think to look at the other societies. They do apparently have a large campus [faseb.org] at that address, so I guess they probably have real office space for those societies there. The property was a country estate when they bought it- now it's inside the Beltway.

Re:Federation of Am... Soc.. for Exper... Biology? (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558219)

Just want to point out that their address is a mile down the street [google.com] from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Small sample size but powerful results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555167)

Re:Small sample size but powerful results? (1)

geogob (569250) | about 1 month ago | (#47555649)

It's powerful when the time comes to look for new funding.

Cause/Effect? (3, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 1 month ago | (#47555169)

Sounds like generalized damage to white blood cells they're detecting. It's my understanding that "cancers" of a sort kind of exist in pockets in most everyone - they're just not the sort that get aggressive and kill people, because those mutant pockets just don't break enough of the rules of good cell conduct yet to count as a notable risk.

My big issue with the methodology is that when anyone has already detectable active cancer, they usually are on chemo, or too sick to stop the progress... both of which will cause generalized damage to the body's defenses. If they can reliably distinguish the kinds of damage though, that would be a nice development.

Even as it is stated, sounds useful to help distinguish some symptoms from cancer perhaps - but it seems this could also correlate with radiation damage or other generalized damage too. Cool study all the same - perhaps may help lead to cheaper or more automated screening at some level.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Cause/Effect? (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | about 1 month ago | (#47555271)

This also relates to the problem of the "cure for cancer" that will never be found because "cancer" isn't a single illness but a generic name for a huge range of different ones, with a wide range of etiologies and manifestations. A single "test for cancer" seems about as likely as a single "test for virus".

As you say, it's a cool study, but like far too many other studies I think it got released to the PR department of the research institute a bit too early (I've experienced this myself on several occasions).

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555737)

This also relates to the problem of the "cure for cancer" that will never be found because "cancer" isn't a single illness but a generic name for a huge range of different ones, with a wide range of etiologies and manifestations.

You are being unduly pessimistic. Cancers, pretty much by definition, have DNA sequences different from the body's. Sequence a cancer, create a key&lock that attaches to that cancer DNA sequence, attach a cell poison to that key&lock and apply that drug to the cancerous body. Done.

Treatment will be affected somewhat by the physical form the cancer cells take but this will basically allow any cancer to be treated since all cells must uptake raw materials. Requires fast and cheap DNA sequencing, dealing with the small number of mutations both cancerous and non-cancerous cells have and recognizing that there's a lot of other bacterial and viral DNA sequences in the body that are not pathological.

A single "test for cancer" seems about as likely as a single "test for virus".

Not quite the same but it should be possible to catalogue the pathological and non-pathological DNA sequences in the body and deal with those that are or are not on the "known good" or "known bad" lists separately.

As you say, it's a cool study, but like far too many other studies I think it got released to the PR department of the research institute a bit too early (I've experienced this myself on several occasions).

I agree with your general point (PR exaggerates) but we're getting better and better at sequencing DNA and that opens new possibilities.

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556031)

This also relates to the problem of the "cure for cancer" that will never be found because "cancer" isn't a single illness but a generic name for a huge range of different ones, with a wide range of etiologies and manifestations.

You are being unduly pessimistic. Cancers, pretty much by definition, have DNA sequences different from the body's. Sequence a cancer, create a key&lock that attaches to that cancer DNA sequence, attach a cell poison to that key&lock and apply that drug to the cancerous body. Done.

This is the wet dream of me and every other cancer biologist. It doesn't work. And is unlikely to work this way any time soon.

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557801)

It is also false. Usually cancer's have DNA sequences much different from the other cells (really no two cells will be exactly the same for long), but the defining feature appears to be widespread gene duplication/deletion via aneuploidy.

Re: Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555287)

That to a more intelligent post than my "don't do it" post.
Our bodies go through a cycle that ultimately ends in death. For any given individual - look hard enough and the gory details of your ultimate demise will be found. Cancer is such a general umbrella term and abused by the medical industry and a keyword for the hypochondriac cash cows.

Diagnosed immortal.

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555297)

It is hard to figure out what they did on a quick scan but I believe they are saying that people with cancer also have easily damaged lymphocyte DNA.

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555387)

I can't figure out thier interpretation of figure 1. They say:
"In all cases, OTM measurements for patients with cancer per depth of cells in the gel were always higher than those
of patients with precancerous/suspect conditions, and these, in turn, were all higher than the OTMs of healthy controls."

But clearly the distributions overlap. Also, it took me too long to figure out what "pos" means in figure 1, so I am going to move on with my life.

Re:Cause/Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556425)

Yes, this.

Generally most people actually do get cancer, not just the whole one third number, everyone more-or-less gets it, but those two thirds that "don't" get it are just cases where the cancers aren't malicious, they are just dormant, they mutated in such a way that they are just like any old cell from the body, but with tumor qualities.

I worry that cancer detection is going to get so good that it will begin picking up even more harmless cases that sometimes never ever even become aggressive, and end up throwing millions under chemo and causing said cancer TO become aggressive. It happens even now, but the chances of detecting non-aggressive cancers are lower since most people don't bother to get checked, and some doctors are inexperienced enough that they cannot tell the difference between dormant and malicious ones.

Sadly I will likely kick the bucket before this could be used to sniff out the inflammation in my gut and figure out if it will go full cancer. Oh well, RIP me, 10/10 wouldn't live again.

Countdown begins (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 1 month ago | (#47555171)

...before all those expensive colonoscopy and mammogram centers start trying to debunk this.

I can't wait for this to start debunking them..

1 in 1000 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555183)

There are roughly 1 million research papers published annually. That's well over 2000 per day on average. Meaning that with P=1/1000 we'll get completely random results at least twice a day!

Great progress, hasty generalization. (4, Informative)

kaliann (1316559) | about 1 month ago | (#47555189)

This could be a giant step forward in cancer diagnostics, but media reports are - of course - sensationalizing beyond evidence.

In the study, the types of tumors tested share some similarities that might mean findings true of them would not be true of "all cancers". Specifically, none of the lesions tested were tumors of mesenchymal origin. No sarcomas, no fibromas, no leukemias. That's a broad range to not examine, and it means that generalizing this as a test for "all cancers" is premature. Additionally, none of the tumors tested were types that tend to show up in places that lymphocytes have trouble getting to (like the brain, eye, and portions of the reproductive tract).

It is good that they tested against COPD (a chronic inflammatory condition), but it does not appear as if they could distinguish between less-aggressive tumors and inflammatory conditions (I can't tell for sure because of the paywall). It may be that this is a test that is a good indicator of chronic inflammation (seen in many cancers as well as other conditions) rather than a cancer-specific test.

Regardless of the limitations of the preliminary sample set, the findings are very exciting and a potentially amazing discovery in cancer medicine. Kudos to the hardworking scientists involved!

Link to abstract (4, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 1 month ago | (#47555199)

Here is the abstract [fasebj.org] . The actual paper is behind a paywall.

"ROC analysis of [the test statistic], for cancers plus precancerous/suspect conditions vs. controls, cancer vs. precancerous/suspect conditions plus controls, and cancer vs. controls, gave areas under the curve of 0.87, 0.89, and 0.93, respectively (P<0.001). Optimization allowed test sensitivity or specificity to approach 100% with acceptable complementary measures."

The ROC curve [wikipedia.org] has area under it of 1 for a perfect classifier and 0.5 for wild guessing. This is a more useful measurement than the p-value. (E.g. if I look at height vs sex for humans, it won't take too big a sample to get a great p-value for there being a difference, yet classifying people as male/female depending on whether they exceed some height threshold is a very poor diagnostic system.) I don't have much of a feel for how good ROC area of about 0.9 is for a medical test. I'd guess it is good enough to be useful, but you'd not want to rely on that test alone.

Re:Link to abstract (4, Interesting)

gringer (252588) | about 1 month ago | (#47555519)

The actual paper is behind a paywall.

Yay for institute access. Their idea of "approach[ing] 100%" is a little bit loose:

Based on these calculations, the cutoffs for low (0.10), medium (0.25), and high (0.50) thresholds are 1.47 at a sensitivity of 94.8% and a specificity of 54.7%, 1.73 at a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 78.7%, and 1.99 at a sensitivity of 62.1% and a specificity of 94%, respectively

I have yet to do the calculations using population prevalence, but I'm going to guess that the positive predictive value of these tests are not particularly high.

Re:Link to abstract (1)

gringer (252588) | about a month and a half ago | (#47561519)

Right. I finally got around to writing an R function to do this, because this problem has cropped up a few times in the past year:

getPV <- function(prevalence, sensitivity, specificity){
        popnTrue <- prevalence;
        popnFalse <- (1-prevalence);
        popnTruePos <- popnTrue * sensitivity;
        popnFalsePos <- popnFalse * (1 - specificity);
        popnTrueNeg <- popnTrue * (1 - sensitivity);
        popnFalseNeg <- popnFalse * specificity;
        ppv <- popnTruePos / (popnTruePos + popnFalsePos);
        npv <- popnFalseNeg / (popnTrueNeg + popnFalseNeg);
        return(data.frame(prev = prevalence, sens = sensitivity,
                                            spec = specificity, ppv = ppv, npv = npv));
}

NCI tells me that 4% of the US population are cancer survivors [cancer.gov] , so I'll use that value for the population prevalence:


> prev <- 4 * 0.01;
> sensSpec <- rbind(c(94.8,54.7),c(81,78.7),c(62.1,94)) * 0.01;

> out.df <- NULL;
> for(i in seq_len(dim(sensSpec)[1])){
    out.df <- rbind(out.df,getPV(prev, sensSpec[i,1], sensSpec[i,2]));
  }
> out.df;
    prev sens spec ppv npv
1 0.04 0.948 0.547 0.08020305 0.9960546
2 0.04 0.810 0.787 0.13677812 0.9900409
3 0.04 0.621 0.940 0.30131004 0.9834779

So the best they can do for this test, according to the paper, is a 30% positive predictive value -- if this test comes up positive, there's a 30% chance that you actually have cancer (and that's allowing for 2% of "negative" results actually being cancer).

Re:Link to abstract (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556217)

> I'd guess it is good enough to be useful, but you'd not want to rely on that test alone.

Perhaps not, but if this test is cheap and easy it offers something very valuable nonetheless.
You go to your doctor with some symptoms that seem fairly generic and non-serious, like many cancers do in the early stages. Your doctor knows there are cancers that present that way, he also know there is a much higher chance it's a pulled muscle. Right now he'd most likely recommend going to a physio (this is exactly the course it took in a friend of mine who recently passed away from lymphatic melanoma - it was misdiagnosed as a sprained groin muscle until well after it metastacized), in part because testing for the cancer on such a long shot is very expensive- and your medical insurance may not want to pay for it.

But now imagine a quick, cheap and easy blood test - it won't give you absolute confirmation but since it's cheap it's not worth it NOT to do it, and then if that says "red flag" he sends you for the more expensive and reliable tests.
Even if it's only 50% successful that's twice as many cancers caught really early - and taken care of while it's still easy and likely to work.

There are plenty of cancers that can be entirely prevented if you catch the risk early. Bowel cancer can be guaranteed prevented with annual colonoscopy's - but that's a painful and uncomfortable and expensive procedure, hardly something you want to do if you're not at risk (especially for a cancer that runs so strongly in families) so a lot of people don't.
But if you could catch it early, you can actually CURE early stage bowel cancer with this simple process, once it metastasises it's usually a death sentence.

Anything that makes early detection cheaper, will save millions of lives.

I might be a start. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555253)

How good can it be? How good need it be? There is still plenty of room for misapplication of data, replication and interpretation. Maybe this could be more effective that cancer sniffing dogs.

Re:I might be a start. (1)

mrxak (727974) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556759)

If they get this up and running, it'll just be another diagnostic tool for your doctor. Hopefully it'll be a quick and cheap enough test that they can run it as soon as you report symptoms, just so they can rule in/rule out cancer and more quickly diagnose you properly with more specific tests to determine what kind and how bad. If it saves some people some unneeded biopsies, I'm all for it.

mosquito (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555277)

You know you have cancer when the mosquitos stop biting you.

Re:mosquito (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 1 month ago | (#47555575)

You know you have cancer when the mosquitos stop biting you.

That just means you have a penis. Mosquitoes love bitches.

The Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555279)

will never allow this to become legal just as they have killed all of the other effective cancer treatments.

The Democrats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555315)

The Democrats are too busy infecting orphans with HIV/AIDS to be bothered trying to help people with cancer.

Re:The Republicans... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 1 month ago | (#47555323)

You're being too kind. Expect these scientists to be assassinated by their kind. That is their way.

Re:The Republicans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556293)

Another weak troll post from slashdot's resident moron.

Allright! Yet another way for insurance companies (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | about 1 month ago | (#47555319)

Blood samples are already a condition of coverage for some insurance. Now prospective employers have a reason for doing the same. Not that either would ever reject anyone on the grounds that they might have health issues. No, they were rejected because a better candidate was found. Nine months later. Question is, would they alert the applicant of the findings? If they did that and the person didn't know someone might put 2 and 2 together. Can you imagine being told by the HR email robot that you weren't selected for the job. Oh and by the way you've got cancer.

Expect many years before approved in USA (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about 1 month ago | (#47555329)

Like many medical advances, this will likely take years before it is approved for use in the USA. Apart from the FDA being very slow, this would cut into revenues from colonoscopies.

Even things like better and safe sunscreen are available in other developed countries but not in the USA. Improved treatments for tooth decay took years before approval in the USA.

Re:Expect many years before approved in USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555475)

Good job its a british university, and british company then.........

Re:Expect many years before approved in USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555835)

What would that matter? Drugs still need to be approved in the countries they are to be used in.

Re:Expect many years before approved in USA (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a month and a half ago | (#47558559)

...and if the FDA approved things quickly, you'd say they were just trying to make more profits for the evil medical companies, after unproven remedies killed people. I don't see any way of viewing the situation positively, it's lose-lose.

I expect Republican assasins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555427)

are already in the air headed to the UK to murder these researchers. There's less than 100 days now (99 to be exact) until the midterm elections so the Republicans are getting desperate to kill anyone that stands against their agenda. Curing cancer would certainly hurt their corporate controllers. The Republicans have already gotten laws passed that force us at gun point to give money to corporations for so-called insurance.

Re:I expect Republican assasins... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 1 month ago | (#47555439)

I doubt they'll do anything so obvious. Always in the past, cancer researchers that have made breakthroughs have just simply disappeared. That is the way the Republican operate. They're too scared to do something as obvious as murder. Instead, they quietly kill-off the research.

Re:I expect Republican assasins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557189)

Isn't this interesting. The Anonymous Troll made a post above this one mentioning Republicans at 01:15, then at 01:30 greenwow calls Republicans assassins

Then the Anonymous Troll makes another post at 02:10 calling Republicans assassins, and greenwow responds at 02:18. You just outed yourself as the Anonymous Troll greenwow. What a moron

Re:I expect Republican assasins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556123)

The Republicans have already gotten laws passed that force us at gun point to give money to corporations for so-called insurance.

That's nothing compared to the Democrats' constant attempts to pass Constitutional amendments to revoke women's right to vote. It's sickening.

Re:I expect Republican assasins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47557083)

Your troll posts are getting stupider by the day. Moron.

E4? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555461)

prospEcts 4re very Java IRC client

what happened to this one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47555697)

http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_andraka_a_promising_test_for_pancreatic_cancer_from_a_teenager [ted.com] .

That one seems on the surface better. It's not just statistically significant. It's basically just correct.

Re:what happened to this one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556051)

That was a nice publicity stunt indeed.

HMOs (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556061)

Soon to be freaking out in front of several governmental bodies: Your HMO

They will claim the treatment is worse than the cancer. They'll want the feds to recommend that people not take this test because it will "mislead" 9inform) the public and cause them to seek unnecessary (expensive) treatment for a condition that might just go away on its own. Then they'll use the governments recommendations as an excuse to deny people coverage.

Sound crazy? They already did it! http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

The biggest problem with health care in this country are HMOs. The second your doctor works for the same company that pays for your treatment, his paycheck is directly affected by any increased treatment he suggests. This impairs his judgment, leads to reduced treatment and ironically leads to increased cost down the road.

Re:HMOs (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556173)

The reason the federal government is making recommendations for reduced testing is to decrease the cost of care it lays out for Medicare, Medicaid, and PPACA patients. The cost studies prior to the passing of PPACA revealed that not only would the cost of "standard" diagnostic testing add billions/year to the cost of the program, but also that there simply are not enough resources available for everyone over 40 to have an annual mammogram.

It looks as if the relaxed prostate, mammogram, and colonoscopy recommendations didn't really do much to stop the cost of PPACA from spiraling completely out of control, though. It will be interesting to see what happens to cancer rates as a result of reducing diagnostic coverage as well. I somehow doubt they will go down.

Progressive (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556115)

Soon, health insurance will be like Progressive auto insurance; sure it's cheaper, you just have to plug yourself into this black box, so your rates and coverage can go up and down like a roller coaster car.

Re:Progressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47556897)

Maybe if the air and water were cleaner, the amount of chemicals in the food supply, and viri causing cancer were reduced... and people lived healthier... then the amount of cancer would go down and premiums would also go down. Radical concept I know.

Or we could have a healthcare system like most other developed countries that know how to deliver better care for less money.

Empirical study!?!? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556127)

Don't these people know that those aren't allowed anymore? A proper study is done by massing a large amount of meta-statistics taken from other studies of large amounts of meta-statistics to create an entirely new conclusion based on the new population data.

Who the hell actually studies the relationships of cause and effect between actual variables in a real experiment anymore?

Universal? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47556567)

So how far away do they have to send the samples ? Its not going to be very useful if you aren't going to get the results of your cancer test fora couple thousand years
and then theres the question will your insurance cover it (out of network)

Still its nice to know that cancer is not just confined to this planet.

Doctor-sided (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47560791)

Is there anything here for the patient? No.

If the science behind this testing proves to be correct, it just means that doctors have greater leverage to get people into cancer treatment faster. Dianosis is not prevention, treatment nor a cure. This is all doctor-sided.

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