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To wonder why we can't all just have a yearly scan for cancer screening from birth?

(35 Posts)
fishalive Fri 04-Dec-15 19:08:04

I'm being too idealistic or simplistic about it all but I wish we could, surely it would be cheaper than treatment and early detection would help overall cure rates?

BondJayneBond Fri 04-Dec-15 19:11:53

I've been told that some types of screening (e.g. CT scans, x-rays) can actually cause cancer, especially if the patient has lots of these scans. If the patient is in a high risk group for developing a particular cancer, then the benefits of these scans will outweigh the risks, but not so if the patient is in a low risk group.

PaulAnkaTheDog Fri 04-Dec-15 19:13:07

Cost, necessity, the immense pressure it would put on the nhs.

BigGreenOlives Fri 04-Dec-15 19:16:40

Because it would be a waste of time for almost everyone. The likelihood of getting cancer for a 4 year old must be incredibly low & the stress for families of waiting to get an all clear each year for each family member would be dreadful.

Pippidoeswhatshewants Fri 04-Dec-15 19:18:50

Is there such a thing as ascan for cancer? I thought there are lots of different types, so would you want a mammogram, a colposcopy and however many more scans a year?
Sounds unnecessary and expensive to me.

Dixiechickonhols Fri 04-Dec-15 19:20:31

I know my consultant was worried re how many ct scans I'd had and pushed for me to have Mri instead.

ouryve Fri 04-Dec-15 19:20:58

Is this a TAAT?

Would it start before or after the paternity test?fhmm

StealthPolarBear Fri 04-Dec-15 19:22:41

Cost (of the scanning and unecessary Follow ups) and stress on the patients I suspect

Egosumquisum Fri 04-Dec-15 19:23:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StealthPolarBear Fri 04-Dec-15 19:24:33

Oh and fwiw I'm pleased the system we're in doesn't class living as a medical condition.

fishalive Fri 04-Dec-15 19:30:39

No, not a TAAT. Just heard a sad story today about a local child with cancer who was told it was nothing for months and months by the GP then tests/scans (whatever type/name) showed dozens of tumours.

I know we couldn't live like that really - with the results always hanging over everyone and of course it would put the NHS under immense strain but I wonder how many of us unknowingly have cancer sad

StealthPolarBear Fri 04-Dec-15 19:31:52

Oh how awful sad

expatinscotland Fri 04-Dec-15 19:31:52

There are thousands of kinds of cancer. There are 137 types of blood cancer alone. No scan for those.


Egosumquisum Fri 04-Dec-15 19:34:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Senpai Fri 04-Dec-15 19:41:29

As expat said, cancer isn't just one homogeneous disease. Different types do different things. My grandmother has cancer, but it's manageable with diet and exercise. A child could have a different strain of the same cancer and die very quickly with it.

So there's not just one scan you can do, and there's not just one treatment that can cure all of it either, even if it's caught early.

PunkrockerGirl Fri 04-Dec-15 19:46:47

There's long waiting lists for people who genuinely need scans. Scanning healthy, low risk people is a massive waste of resources imo.
It would cost a fortune.
A scan's only as good as the day it was performed. Things can change massively in a year.

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe Fri 04-Dec-15 19:48:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wolpertinger Fri 04-Dec-15 19:49:16

What sort of cancer, what sort of scan?

A whole body CT scan annually would miss numerous cancers and cause quite a lot of cancers too in the process due to the excess exposure to radiation.

expatinscotland Fri 04-Dec-15 19:52:15

It wouldn't have helped my daughter. She had blood cancer. There are many different types of cancer. Some are acute and literally take off in weeks.

VelvetSpoon Fri 04-Dec-15 19:52:34

Prompt treatment and not fobbing people off would preferable imho.

My bf had cancer. It was only discovered because he didn't accept the opinion of his GP and 3 different consultants that his pain didn't exist. His cancer is one which is often aggressive and with a poor prognosis on recurrence. Had he just taken the 'its's nothing' advice I don't want to think about what the outcome might have been.

Enjoyingthepeace Fri 04-Dec-15 19:55:41

Along with the above (cost, pressure in nhs, stress on people), such a programme would cause complacency in some. Along the lines of, oh well I have smoked thirty years and these tests keep coming back negative, so no point cutting down, in fact I could add a few I reckon.

Quicknamechange123 Fri 04-Dec-15 19:56:04

Even when my mum had scans (ct and mri) they misdiagnosed about 5 different things until a month later diagnosing her with advanced bowel cancer. Scans are not foolproof (and can be interpreted differently different specialities) and any potential benefits for a minority of the population would be far outweighed by the mammoth costs!
From what I have read, in America they have more routine tests (e.g. annual colonoscopies after certain age depending on insurance) but this is more for money than patient benefit.

Tholeonagain Fri 04-Dec-15 20:06:51

testing would be traumatic for kids & worry inducing & time consuming for adults, as well as too expensive all round. We need to learn to live with uncertainty. It is hard.

Whatthefoxgoingon Fri 04-Dec-15 21:27:32

Forget the cost, there isn't a single scan that will pick up all types of cancer. So your idea is a complete non starter.

sleepyhead Fri 04-Dec-15 21:34:51

Devising an effective screening programme in the general population is incredibly tricky, particularly if the thing you're screening for is rare in that population.

Your test must be sensitive enough to not miss any cases, but specific enough not to have too many false positives. More sensitive = less specific and vice versa.

An incredibly counter intuitive example is HIV testing in otherwise low risk men (ie no history of sex with men or travel to Africa etc). Such a man would only have a 50% chance of actually having HIV even if he has a single positive HIV test.

Think about the false positives from mammography and then multiply by a factor of, well I dunno, for all the far rarer cancers (even if it were possible).

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