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Men 'over-diagnosed' for cancer, study says



Published: Wed, July 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Men 'over-diagnosed'for cancer, study says

WASHINGTON -- Many men over 60 are receiving unnecessary surgery and other treatments for prostate cancer even though the disease is unlikely to progress far enough to cause health problems, according to one analysis.

A study published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examined the use of a blood test to find prostate cancer in a group of patients 60-84 over a 10-year period. It concluded that 29 percent to 44 percent of the men were "over-diagnosed."

Those patients may have received surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer that would never have progressed so far that it threatened their health, said Ruth Etzioni, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

"Over those 10 years, of the men diagnosed as a result of the PSA test, up to 30 percent may have been treated unnecessarily," said Etzioni.

The PSA test measures the level of a prostate-specific antigen in the blood. A high number may suggest prostate cancer.

Etzioni said prostate cancer is a slow-moving disease. Many older men may have prostate tumors that will never become life-threatening because they will die of other causes before the cancer has a chance to spread.

Floods paralyzecentral, south Texas

SAN ANTONIO -- After days of pummeling central and south Texas, a slow-moving storm system responsible for at least three deaths moved to the west after its floodwaters turned scores of communities into virtual islands.

Throughout the region, low-lying areas were under several feet of water, forcing officials to shut down parts of more than 100 roads. Dry creek beds were transformed into boiling, brown torrents carrying trees, household appliances and debris downstream.

Gov. Rick Perry activated the Texas National Guard to help with relief efforts. Rescue teams used rafts, personal watercraft and helicopters to rescue people from stranded vehicles and flooded homes.

The storm, which began Saturday and intensified Sunday, has dumped more than 15 inches of rain in some areas. The state Division of Emergency Management estimated that heavy rain was affecting 29 counties surrounding San Antonio.

Prime minister defendsstrong ties with U.S.

LONDON -- Following the lead of the British media and opposition, pop singer George Michael used a new video to criticize Prime Minister Tony Blair's close ties with the United States.

The video for Michael's new song "Shoot the Dog," which aired on MTV, portrays Blair as President Bush's obedient poodle.

Blair's office refused to comment on the video Tuesday night, but earlier in the evening the prime minister defended his strong ties with the Bush administration.

He said the British-U.S. alliance is not a one-way relationship where the bigger partner makes decisions for the smaller one, but a mature and healthy friendship crucial to the security of both nations.

"It's not a relationship in which we go along with a sort of begging bowl and say to the Americans, 'Well, can you give us this? And can we get 50 percent of what we want?"' Blair told Britain's Channel 4 News. "It's not like that. It is a relationship that is very, very strong."

In a statement Tuesday, Michael called his video a political satire that should not be seen as unpatriotic or anti-American. But he urged Blair to challenge Bush's views.

Controversial order

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The search for the mother of a newborn whose body was dumped in the trash has turned to the courtroom as lawyers fight a judge's order to release names of pregnant mothers to investigators.

Authorities want the records containing the names of women who tested positive for pregnancy in five area clinics and hospitals. They hope to learn the names of all those women who were pregnant between August 2001 and May.

A judge has ordered Planned Parenthood and the hospitals to turn over the hundreds of records to investigators who have uncovered few clues and have no suspects after interviewing new mothers in Storm Lake, where the boy's body was found May 30 after being shredded at a trash recycling center.

Buena Vista County Attorney Phil Havens argued the pregnancy tests are not medical records because they can be administered by lay people.

He told The Des Moines Register that he will file contempt-of-court charges and that Planned Parenthood Director Jill June would be jailed if the organization fails to hand over the records.

The agency had until Friday morning to cooperate.

Associated Press




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