Last week, my team and I took to the streets to call attention to the bowel cancer screening program. In population screening, colon cancer can be detected early or even prevented with a simple stool test. subordinate 4 percent Among the participants who required a visual examination, one in three was found to have colon cancer or an advanced precursor of colon cancer. Fortunately, most people on the street have told me that they participate in population screening, because early detection means better prognosis.
Rosanne Hertzberger is skeptical about population screening in her column (19/3). Correctly evaluating population screenings is really important, because the benefits of health gains and lower treatment costs also have drawbacks that Hertzberger rightly mentions. The comprehensive assessment of population screening—impact on patients, cost-effectiveness, and impact on healthcare—is a complex science. Renowned academics evaluate screenings of the Dutch population using complex simulation models, experiments and focus groups.
Hertzberger turns population examination into a political subject, and thus fails science. When evaluating screening procedures, I appeal to policy makers not to go along with this politicization based on gut feelings, but to base themselves on science.
PhD Candidate in Cancer Screening Erasmus MC
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of March 25, 2022