Treating men for prostate cancer is one of the most profitable areas of modern medicine.
It’s at least $50 billion per year.
The question is, is it effective to screen for prostate cancer?
Or is it just a way to spin huge profits for doctors, medical device manufacturers, and drug companies?
And I’m not blaming your doctor for doing aggressive cancer screening.
They think it’s useful in saving lives, so they do it.
But I do want to see if it actually helps.
Because if it doesn’t help why do it?
In fact, I personally do not go for any prostate screening.
I have no interest in it because of studies like the one I’m going to review with you right now.
If this study was done in the United States, it would have turned out differently.
There would have been so much pressure put on the doctors that it would no doubt show a different result.
But it was done in Finland.
I’m sure that in Finland they have a lot more government-paid medicine.
So they have incentive to figure out ways to avoid spending money on tests and treatments that do not work.
They can avoid those nonproductive costs by doing real research.
And they can sort out what works, versus what is just effective for lining the pockets of Big Pharma and medical device companies.
I’m actually fully against socialized medicine of every kind.
But I’ll admit that government sometimes has an interest in counteracting the propaganda from drug companies and medical device manufacturers.
Government wants to avoid spending more taxpayer money on a useless medical practice.
The medical device and drug companies want to get men to spend more money — even if it’s plain silly.
This study followed roughly 80,000 men.
The researchers followed these men over many years.
And in Finland, all deaths are registered with the state.
So they were able to match deaths with men who were screened.
And they could then figure out how many of the men who were screened for prostate cancer died.
This is the kind of data that’s hard to get in other countries.
But in Finland, it’s pretty easy to get relatively speaking.
Some men had prostate exams and some did not.
Actually, all the men were screened to some degree for prostate cancer.
But some men were intensively screened, what they called the “screening arm.”
And some men were essentially left to their own devices — these men were in the “control arm.”
Men in the control arm often would choose to get screened.
But these men were not actively encouraged to get prostate checks.
And they weren’t aggressively screened the way the men in the “screening arm” were.
So the men in the “control arm” would often not get screened.
Now, you would think that many more of them would die of prostate cancer, right?
And if this is true, you would think that the unscreened men would die in droves.
They’d die from all kinds of cancers resulting from metastases of the prostate cancer right?
However, one fact reported in the middle of the full study throws ice water on that thinking.
We observed no difference in all-cause mortality between trial arms.
Men who were screened aggressively had a tiny bit higher chance of surviving prostate cancer than men who were not aggressively screened.
So they would have had to screen 1199 men to find 25 with something suspicious.
And that would save ONE life. One.
So 1199 costly screenings to save just one life from some form of prostate cancer death.
And in the meantime, the same number of people died anyone in the study groups.
HALF these people never had to go through all of the prostate screening and diagnosis processes.
And something suspicious was discovered:
Many men had to have their prostate removed.
They had to undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and terrible ED for months or years.
They endured all kinds of scary things, and their families had to endure it all, too.
And for what?
The fact is that screening saved zero lives.
Remember the difference in all cause mortality was NOTHING.
This entire study reveals yet again that the whole prostate cancer screening process is a basically a scam.
It just makes doctors, medical device companies, and Big Pharma companies rich.
And it’s all at the expense of poor helpless men who don’t know better.
Remember, there was no difference in all-cause mortality between men screened or not:
WE OBSERVED NO DIFFERENCE IN ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY BETWEEN TRIAL ARMS
Whenever I publish a newsletter like this, I get all kinds email from men.
They tell me about how if their doctor had not found their cancer they would be dead now.
First of all, I’m glad that they made it.
I’m not saying that screening won’t help some people save their life.
Statistically it won’t help at all.
But with some men it may help.
And also, how do these men know that their doctor saved their life?
Most of these prostate cancers are extremely slow-growing.
It’s usually the young men that get very fast-growing and fatal prostate cancers — they are unlikely to be screened anyway.
The older guys get slow-growing cancers and they are unlikely to die from them.
They’ll die long before these cancers get more serious.
I hope that this will help some people make a more informed decision about prostate cancer screening.
Prostate Cancer Mortality in the Finnish Randomized Screening Trial