Friday February 28, 2020

Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world

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A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that Australians are increasingly being diagnosed with potentially harmless cancers, which if left undetected or untreated, may expose them to unnecessary surgeries and chemotherapy.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, drew on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to compare how the lifetime risk of five cancers had changed between 1982 and 2012.

The study shows compared to 30 years ago, Australians are much more likely to experience a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

“Cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, endocrine and chemotherapy carry risks of physical harms,” said the study authors from Bond University, University of Sydney and Griffith University in Australia.

“In the absence of overdiagnosis, these harms are generally considered acceptable. In the context of overdiagnosed cancers, however, affected individuals cannot benefit but can only be harmed by these treatments,” authors added.

The figures suggest that in 2012 24 per cent of cancers or carcinomas in men were overdiagnosed. These included 42 per cent of prostate cancers, 42 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

For women, 18 per cent of cancers or carcinomas were overdiagnosed, including 22 per cent of breast cancers, 58 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

The figures are significant because of the harm that can occur from cancer treatment of patients who would never have had symptoms in their lifetime.

The authors also refer to separate studies showing overdiagnosis could be linked to psychological problems.

“For example, men’s risk of suicide appears to increase in the year after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis,” researchers said.

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According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world.”

The findings also suggest an important role for health services such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in detecting potential overdiagnosis and alerting health policy decision makers to the problem early on. (IANS)

Next Story

New Wearable Sensor Can Detect Critical Changes in Heart Failure Patients

Wearable sensor to predict worsening heart failure

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Wearable sensor heart
A new wearable sensor could help doctors remotely detect critical changes in heart failure patients days before a health crisis occurs. Pixabay

A new wearable sensor that works in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) technology could help doctors remotely detect critical changes in heart failure patients days before a health crisis occurs, says a study. This is the latest health news.

The researchers said the system could eventually help avert up to one in three heart failure readmissions in the weeks following initial discharge from the hospital and help patients sustain a better quality of life.

“This study shows that we can accurately predict the likelihood of hospitalisation for heart failure deterioration well before doctors and patients know that something is wrong,” says the study’s lead author Josef Stehlik from University of Utah in the US.

“Being able to readily detect changes in the heart sufficiently early will allow physicians to initiate prompt interventions that could prevent rehospitalisation and stave off worsening heart failure,” Stehlik added.

According to the researchers, even if patients survive, they have poor functional capacity, poor exercise tolerance and low quality of life after hospitalisations. “This patch, this new diagnostic tool, could potentially help us prevent hospitalizations and decline in patient status,” Stehlik said.

Wearable sensor heart
The sensor can help avert up to one in three heart failure readmissions in the weeks following initial discharge from the hospital and help patients sustain a better quality of life. Pixabay

For the findings, published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, the researchers followed 100 heart failure patients, average age 68, who were diagnosed and treated at four veterans administration (VA) hospitals in Utah, Texas, California, and Florida.

After discharge, participants wore an adhesive sensor patch on their chests 24 hours a day for up to three months. The sensor monitored continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) and motion of each subject.

This information was transmitted from the sensor via Bluetooth to a smartphone and then passed on to an analytics platform, developed by PhysIQ, on a secure server, which derived heart rate, heart rhythm, respiratory rate, walking, sleep, body posture and other normal activities.

Using artificial intelligence, the analytics established a normal baseline for each patient. When the data deviated from normal, the platform generated an indication that the patient’s heart failure was getting worse.

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Overall, the system accurately predicted the impending need for hospitalization more than 80 per cent of the time. On average, this prediction occurred 10.4 days before a readmission took place (median 6.5 days), the study said. (IANS)