screening

BBC website headline wrong shock horror

Bowel cancer screening 'does cut deaths', said the BBC News website today, in a report on a study using data from the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England, published in the magnificently named journal Gut. Wow, I thought, that was quick, the programme has been going only since 2006 and didn't cover the whole country till 2010. Have they really found clear evidence of an effect on death rates already?

Heart disease screening: where did the uncertainty go?

The UK news media have reported quite extensively a newly published paper by Wald, Simmonds and Morris on screening for cardiovascular disease (CVD) - that is, disease of the heart and blood vessels (principally heart attacks and strokes). The paper concluded that screening should be based on the patient's age alone, and not on other risk factors for CVD. But I'm not going to examine the conclusion - I'm interested in the way the authors dealt with uncertainty.

Screening for disease: why it's controversial

Screening for disease was in the news again in the UK last week. According to the BBC, a 20-year Swedish study of screening for prostate cancer showed that screening brought no benefit. (The actual study report didn't put it quite so baldly, but effectively did conclude there was no benefit.) This came just a couple of days after the Alzheimer's Disease Society asked that the NHS should offer checks for dementia to everyone (in the UK) when they reach the age of 75. Both these news items reported contrasting views on whether these screening checks are in fact advisable.

Bayes' Theorem

A more detailed worked example

Dope screening

Some references

Interactive graphic again

Probability tree?

positive

negative

More detailed example in level 3: Spam filtering, computer aided diagnosis (?)

Bayes' Theorem

This will have a few equations in it.

It will have probability trees to illustrate Bayes theorem for the screening example, and a bit more use of the interactivity...

Maybe also DNA testing, etc?

Screening for breast cancer

Since 1988, women over 50 in the UK have routinely been offered screening for breast cancer, even if they have no other symptoms, and in 2004/05 1.7 million women were screened. Those with a positive mammogram are recalled for further investigations, at considerable cost in anxiety, resources and pain and discomfort. But how many of these women really have breast cancer?

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