American Cancer Society Shifting its Message on Screening for Breast and Prostate Cancer

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Screening is an important tool of secondary prevention of disease in public health. Of course screening tools are not perfect. The American Cancer Society (ACS), a long defender of cancer screening, is now working on a message to emphasize that breast and prostate cancer screenings can come with a real risk of overtreating many small cancers while missing cancers that are deadly. My concern is how we are going to communicate this to the public in a way that doesn’t deter people from getting screened. The ACS hasn’t even come up with its message to the public and they’re already getting media coverage. This is a real opportunity for a public health campaign to educate the public about cancer screenings.

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