There have been a number of recent articles in the press (most notably at the New York Times) about the advisability of giving men routine PSA tests to detect if they have Prostate Cancer. A government panel has recommended that the practices of giving men over 50 (or over 40 if there is family history) be stopped because it results in needless procedures that are costly and effect men negatively without saving lives. I believe this is a dumb recommendation. The PSA can provided valuable information that can save lives. It is not the PSA test that is the problem it is what is done after the results come back that is the issue.
The TSA argues that the amount of radiation that is received is considerably less than the additional radiation that one will receive just by flying. The the TSA’s data like much of the data our government produces, is questionable. But here is the issue, radiation even small amounts can cause cancer. It is a probably issue which may be hard for many people to understand. X rays are like Hamas sending unguided missiles into Israel. Most of the time they just land on some dirt somewhere but every once in while they find a house, car or even a person. The more sent the greater the chance of hitting something. So while the chances of any one individual getting cancer from a body scan at the airport is very small the chances of someone being hit is very high. I don’t really know that they increase changes are but lets say that having a whole body scan give one a risk of cancer that is one in million. Then if a million people are scanned, the chances of someone getting radiation one. So there are a billion scans there would be a 1000 incidents of cancer (this may be much higher or lower in my example in reality). There is a reasonable chance that more people will die from the scanners than would die if a plan blew up.
Listening to a discussion of Prostate Cancer on Science Friday and especially the comments of Mark C. Scholz who wrote a book with the provocative title of “The Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers” felt it was time once again to make a plea for men not to rush to be treated.
As a man who was treated for Prostate cancer over 12 years ago, I often said that I had PSA disease
Today , I heard our president talk about Iran. How I wish he would talk about cancer. I am sure more of our soldiers will die from cancer than roadside bombs made in Iran (which clearly is not a good thing either). The last several days I have been trying to help a dear friend …