Tag: National Cancer Institute

If You Feel OK, Maybe You Are OK

Early diagnosis has become one of the most fundamental precepts of modern medicine. It goes something like this: The best way to keep people healthy is to find out if they have (pick one) heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or, of course, cancer — early. And the way to find these conditions early is through screening.

It is a precept that resonates with the intuition of the general public: obviously it’s better to catch and deal with problems as soon as possible. A study published with much fanfare in The New England Journal of Medicine last week contained what researchers called the best evidence yet that colonoscopies reduce deaths from colon cancer.

Recently, however, there have been rumblings within the medical profession that suggest that the enthusiasm for early diagnosis may be waning. Most prominent are recommendations against prostate cancer screening for healthy men and for reducing the frequency of breast and cervical cancer screening. Some experts even cautioned against the recent colonoscopy results, pointing out that the study participants were probably much healthier than the general population, which would make them less likely to die of colon cancer. In addition there is a concern about too much detection and treatment of early diabetes, a growing appreciation that autism has been too broadly defined and skepticism toward new guidelines for universal cholesterol screening of children.

The basic strategy behind early diagnosis is to encourage the well to get examined — to determine if they are not, in fact, sick. But is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or cancer … is to be screened for it. In other words, the problem is overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

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Winners of the NCI Health 2.0 Developer Challenge!

Health 2.0 is excited to announce the two winners of the Enabling Community Use of Data for Cancer Prevention and Control challenge, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

  • Ozioma – uses local health data sets to inform media sources, enhancing the relevancy of health related news stories. View the solution
  • GSAREH – uses geospatial research to inform users of cancer related information in their communities. View the solution

NCI sponsored this challenge to promote the sharing of cancer data between public health entities and communities. Teams were asked to create a web-based or mobile application using datasets from the National Cancer Institute and Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). The solution needed to enable communities’ use of population data for cancer prevention and control.

The winners of this challenge won a trip to and a speaking role at the 2011 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences in Koloa, Kauai this coming January.

Congratulations to Teams Oziomo and GSAREH!

To view the official press release, please follow the link to Health 2.0 announces winners of online developer challenge.

If you are interested in participating in a developer challenge please go to and check out the five new challenges live on the site.