• Cancer testing in your bathroom

    The do-it-yourself test market, estimated at $2 billion to $3 billion globally, is expanding 20 percent a year as new checks for colon and prostate cancer, HIV, chlamydia, stomach ulcer, sperm count and drug abuse take their place on pharmacy shelves alongside standards such as blood-sugar monitors for diabetics and pregnancy tests, according to Alan Hirzel, a London-based partner at consulting company Bain & Co. [...]

    Mode expects to begin selling its colon-cancer test, the first in a series of do-it-yourself medical checks it’s developing, directly to patients for about 25 pounds ($38) through online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. in the second half of the year, Heaney said. The company is awaiting European regulatory permission this year, Heaney said. [...]

    1st Health Products’ top sellers are its tests for chlamydia, a biological marker that may indicate prostate cancer, urinary-tract infections, colon polyps that may signal cancer and commonly abused drugs including cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis, Kirby said. Prices range from 10 pounds to 15 pounds and most of the tests check for the presence of an antibody or antigen that causes a color change.

    More here. Recommendation: Bundle the tests with a handbook on Bayesian inference. What could possibly go wrong?

    @afrakt

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    • I like your suggestion to bundle these with a good textbook on statistics. It would probably be good to also include a few medical textbooks and a multi-year medical education course.
      These tests will generate false positives leading to further wasted time and money.
      These tests will generate false negatives leading people to ignore genuine medical problems.
      These tests will pick up something that really exists but has no treatment or cure.
      These tests will generate lots of profits!

    • They can’t be very effective, since if a $40 test can tell you if you have colon polyps, why would anyone go through the misery that is a colonoscopy? Or your PCP could administer the $40 test, charge you $100 bucks, and give decent test result analysis and you’d still be getting a bargain and putting colonoscopy centers out of business.

    • Drug abuse tests make sense…

      The rest of it only makes sense in a society where people feel they can’t afford the real deal and are desperate for any lousy substitute for actual health care.

    • I’m not sure what to think about this… I guess it depends on the sensitivity and specificity of the home testing kits. But I do 100% agree with Mark, they should come wrapped in a package along with a book explaining the results.