Friday 28 March 2008


In a response to Dr. Michael Siegel's comment in his blog about the failure of a scientist to disclose the funding she received from tobacco industry interests for her research on CT screening for lung cancer, Mr. Bill Godshall, Executive Director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, unwillingly (or perhaps even willingly) exhibited the dogmatic ideology that characterizes the tobacco control movement: The end justifies any and all means.

His comment was not only devoid of any scientific merit and human compassion, but it eloquently illustrated that any means, ethical or unethical, moral or immoral, must be employed towards coercing smokers into quitting.

After reading such a comment from an executive director of a public health organization, it makes it abundantly clear that scrutiny for truthfulness and scientific accuracy of anything spewed by the tobacco control dogmatists, is an absolute necessity.

The comment (color emphasis ours) :

While shocked that Dr. Claudia Henschke's research didn't disclose Liggett's funding, and that she is now claiming public health advocates knew about the funding source, CT scans have the potential to increase the dismal 15% five-year survival rate for lung cancer, and may prove to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool.

Mike wrote:

"having 90% of your patients with nodules worrying unnecessarily for 3 months hardly seems acceptable to me."

I cannot think of a more effective incentive (than worrying about having early stage lung cancer) to encourage smokers to quit smoking.

Mike also wrote:

"Ninety percent of the time, the test is wrong. That's usually viewed as being unacceptable for a screening test."Since false positive tests could be even more beneficial for the health of the smoker (when worrying about a false positive convinces the smoker to quit) than true positive tests (whose resulting treatment is not going to save the lives of many or most lung cancer patients), CT lung cancer screenings of smokers is likely to even more effective as a smoking cessation aid than as a lung cancer screening tool.

A caveat is that false positive CT lung cancer tests in ex-smokers (who comprise slightly greater than half of new lung cancer cases) is likely to cause unnecessary worrying, without providing any benefit. Thus, perhaps somewhat different CT lung screening guidelines should be considered for current smokers and for ex-smokers.

Bill Godshall 03.28.08 - 12:09 pm #

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