The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care says measuring prostate specific antigen, or PSA, in blood is not an effective screening tool because it often produces false-positive results that lead to unnecessary treatment.
Task force member Dr. Neil Bell says almost one in five men aged 55 to 69, for instance, have at least one false-positive PSA test and about 17 per cent end up with unnecessary biopsies.
Bell says more than half of detected prostate cancers are overdiagnosed — meaning they would not have caused symptoms or death during a man’s lifetime.
Overdiagnosis often leads to treatments that can cause impotence, incontinence and infection. But Bell says PSA screening results in only a 0.1 per cent reduction in prostate cancer deaths — or one less death per 1,000 men.
The task force recommendation applies only to using PSA testing to see if a man might have prostate cancer, not for checking whether treatment is working in men already diagnosed with the disease fast payday loans.
“Our recommendation is against screening because we think the harms are sufficiently great . . . (and) the majority of men would probably not benefit from that process,” Bell said of PSA screening, which is often done every two to four years starting at about 40.
“That being said, men who are concerned about prostate screening should have a discussion with their physician . . . to come up with the decision that’s appropriate for that person.”
“Physicians and patients need to be aware of the fact that in prostate cancer, early diagnosis doesn’t always mean you’re going to get a better benefit.”
Dundas St. W. and Keele St.
8:50 a.m.: Three journalists wait for Chow at the Junction intersection where she said she would be canvassing. Turns out she has already left: there were so few people on the streets when she arrived that she turned around and went back downtown.
United Steelworkers hall, Cecil St.
10 a.m.: Her real first stop: a fire-up-the-troops speech to a group of already-fired-up female supporters at a union hall around the corner from her house.
She strikes her familiar notes: Tory and Ford both support the destructive “conservative agenda,” only she represents “real” change from their “status quo,” only she would invest in key social services immediately, “everyone counts.”
10:18 a.m.: A reporter tells Chow that Ford claims he is in a “dead heat” with Tory. “Pfffff,” she responds. Everything Ford says, she says, must be taken with “a grain of salt.” Then she mockingly says “subways, subways, subways” in the voice of someone slightly unwell.
Downtown street canvass
10:35 a.m.: More than three dozen supporters follow Chow out of the hall, along Cecil and up Spadina, chanting things like “Olivia for mayor” and “Final push! Over the top!”
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star
Olivia Chow canvasses along Danforth Rd. near Victoria Park Ave. on the last weekend before the municipal election.
10:44 a.m.: Chow greets people along College St. One woman, sitting on a patio, is wearing a hooded jacket with fox ears sticking out of the hood. Chow: “Is it Halloween yet?” Woman: “Was just feeling foxy this morning.” Chow: “Is this the red fox?” Woman: “I’m just a foxy girl.”
11:24 a.m.: A man asks Chow to “do a selling job” to woo him. Echoing Ford, he says the city needs subways. She says she wants to build the downtown relief line. He seems unimpressed.
10:38 a.m.: A man tells Chow he likes her because she sticks to “the basics” rather than pitching grand-but-unrealistic plans like the others. Chow: “Basic is good.”
11:42 a.m.: A man approaches a Chow volunteer and says, “ ‘Olivia Chow cash advance in one hour.’ Is that Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard)?” The volunteer says no. Thinking about this question for another second, she adds, “What?” But he is gone.
11:57 a.m.: A man tells Chow that he is struggling with the question of whether or not to vote strategically for Tory. “Vote with your heart,” Chow says. “Vote with your heart,” the man repeats with palpable skepticism.
Danforth Ave. and Victoria Park Ave.
1:46 p.m.: Canvassing with local councillor Janet Davis (open Janet Davis’s policard), Chow gets an enthusiastic reception — until a passing man says, “Get the f— out of here. This is Ford Nation, bitch.”
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star
Olivia Chow talks to patrons inside Gharoa Restaurant as she canvasses along Danforth Rd. near Victoria Park Ave. on the last weekend before the municipal election.
With a little laugh, Chow turns away. She asks a reporter if Doug Ford has apologized yet for using the same word this week.
2:14 p.m.: A Hakka restaurateur tells Chow that she has earned all of the seven votes in his family. “Be strong,” he tells her, and he flexes his muscles. She flexes back.
Royal York Rd. and Bloor St. W.
3:40 p.m.: Elisa Gomez informs Chow that her Salvadoran friends became Chow supporters when they saw a photo of Chow at an event flipping pupusas, a traditional tortilla dish. One friend, she notes, did ask, “Well, how do you know John Tory isn’t going to flip pupusas?”
Costco, Queen Elizabeth Blvd., Etobicoke
4:45 p.m.: Chow eats a large smoked meat sandwich in between photos with well-wishers buying large quantities of various products. Her unreserved praise for the cooking at the warehouse retailer’s discount restaurant draws a pained Twitter reaction from deli proprietor Zane Caplansky.
Night of Dread, Dufferin Grove Park
6:02 p.m.: Chow began her day urging voters to vote out of “hope and not fear.” She ends it by posing for a photo next to a man dressed as Ebola, one of the many fears personified at the quirky costume parade, and fake-threatening people with an artistic scythe she was handed.
Chow’s number of 150 is based on two-way, all-day, 15-minute service on the Kitchener and Stouffville GO lines on the SmartTrack map. Tory has not said how many trains his plan would need.
But if it is 150, that would put the total train movements at Union Station at 1,083 — nearly 200 more trains than the 900 daily maximum cited in the 2011 Union Station track and platform study being quoted by Chow. It was done for Metrolinx by engineering firm AECOM.
Chow’s campaign spokesman Jamey Heath points out that report is the most recent publicly available research on Union Station capacity. Tory’s lack of specificity makes it difficult to make an informed assessment of his claims, he said.
The Smell Test: Chow is not wrong about Union Station running out of tracks and platforms. But her timing is off, according to Metrolinx. Union Station is expected to have some capacity for the next 10 years.
If it takes more than a decade to get SmartTrack up and running that’s another matter.
Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, who is in charge of GO, has repeatedly stated that Union Station will have enough room for about the next decade. During that time Metrolinx is considering building two more tracks to the south of the train shed to accommodate more trains.
In the longer term, however, transit officials say they will need more track and platforms so they are looking at the feasibility of building at least one other station west of Union.
The AECOM track capacity study used by Chow was done in 2010 and 2011. But Metrolinx already considers it an out-of-date reference because it is based on a set of assumptions that have changed. The electric regional express rail (RER) plan that GO is now pursuing would be based on 15-minute, all-day, two-way service across the system with a 10-year timeline no credit check payday loans. The AECOM figures, on the other hand, refer to 10-minute frequencies.
While there will certainly be more trains going through Union in the next seven years, Metrolinx doesn’t know how many, said spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins. But with less frequency than the AECOM study projects, there won’t be as many as the over-capacity numbers that Chow released in a press conference earlier this month.
Chow’s campaign has also assumed that the 150 SmartTrack vehicles would be in addition to more GO trains. Again, Tory’s explanations make it difficult to assess where SmartTrack leaves off and regional express rail begins because they would both run on the same tracks.
But, when he was asked directly at a Toronto Star editorial board meeting, Tory said that the SmartTrack and GO RER trains would be part of the same service where they overlap. SmartTrack is situated entirely on the GO tracks except for a spur along Eglinton Ave. west of Mount Dennis with three stops.
So if Metrolinx agreed to electrify the two SmartTrack corridors first — Kitchener and Stouffville — and if Chow’s estimate of 150 trains is accurate, it would still fall short of the daily maximum train movements in the AECOM study.
Experts point out too, that daily train movements aren’t the issue. The real question is how many trains you can put through Union in the peak when the station is at its busiest. Those are the periods in which there might be more trains in passenger service but you wouldn’t be moving any trains in and out of service.
No to privatization of the LCBO.
No to breaking the foreign-owned Beer Store monopoly.
No to levelling the playing field for small Ontario wineries.
That was nearly a decade ago, when a government-appointed expert panel told the Liberal government of the day what it didn’t want to hear. And got nowhere with then-premier Dalton McGuinty.
No deal in 2005. No sale.
Now fast forward to 2014: Another expert panel, another Liberal government.
This time, heavyweight TD Bank chief Ed Clark is helming the government panel, heeding the government’s position, and hewing to the party line. Instead of the “Three No’s,” watch for the “Three Go’s” from Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Not privatization but modernization at the LCBO.
Not liberalization but commercialization at The Beer Store.
Not a level playing field but a more level-headed approach to wine sales.
The first step for Clark’s privatization panel was to take stock of previous panels that went nowhere. And to avoid following in their footsteps.
“Our bias was clearly towards the doable,” Clark said in a marathon speech outlining his approach. “We prefer a more measured approach . . . (that) actually gets things done rather than adds to the list of reports never implemented.”
Instead of biting off more than it could chew, the panel opted for bite-sized chunks. There is method to their meekness.
Clark’s panel recognized the government’s diktat that an LCBO sale was off the table. Unlike the 2005 panel, it went to work making the alcohol monopoly work better.
The plans for reforming the LCBO are ambitious and possibly transformative: dragging it into the digital age with online ordering and pick-ups at local outlets; new warehouse stores in big cities to provide the kind of scale that Costco delivers in the U.S.; and boutique locations catering to local markets or neighbourhoods.
These changes might sound incremental, but they could go a long way toward satisfying complaints from both ends of the market — wine connoisseurs who whine about the selection, and wine consumers who want their plonk priced competitively. Improved procurement practices — getting rid of the LCBO’s unwieldy, Pentagon-style “cost-plus” margins — should also deliver higher profits cheap pay day loans.
And then there is The Beer Store. Like the LCBO, it cannot be privatized, but for different reasons: It is already privately held by multinationals Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Molson Coors and Sapporo.
Now, Clark’s panel wants to remove the handcuffs imposed on the LCBO by a previous Tory government in 2000. Back then, it was directed to sign a “Framework Agreement” preventing it from selling beer in packages of 8, 10, 12 or 24 — thus limiting its selection of most craft beers and restricting its volume of big national brands.
The Beer Store pushed for the pact so as to codify past practice — reflecting its monopoly mentality that retailing should remain frozen in time. Now it’s time to get with the times.
The panel wants to reduce those restrictions, allowing the LCBO to sell up to 12-packs (yet would foolishly restrict cases of 24). More importantly, it wants to charge The Beer Store a kind of “franchise fee” for the privilege of maintaining its quasi-monopoly across Ontario — unique in the world.
The benefits of this protected, fully integrated system “partly go to the producers,” Clark concludes. “Ontario taxpayers deserve their fair cut of the profits generated from the beer producers.”
Predictably, The Beer Store reacted by fulminating like a head of foam, with dark warnings that any new “monopoly fee” would raise prices. Clark and the Liberal government counter that the brewers had better not pass the buck to consumers — perhaps ensuring compliance by forcing the privately held Beer Store to open its books for the first time.
How much does the government believe it is owed by the big breweries? Likely in the tens of millions of dollars, to start.
What happens if The Beer Store escalates the public fight (as it considered doing last week), threatening store closings and layoffs of unionized workers? At that point, the government could deploy its nuclear option, blowing up the outdated “Framework Agreement” so that other private retailers could compete on beer sales.
Clark’s panel is taking only baby steps — yet The Beer Store is crying like a baby. If the big brewers scale up their squawking, they might finally prompt the government to liberalize — and liberate — our beer sales.
But it’s also a really easy way to get hit with hundreds of dollars in extra fees.
The average convenience fee for colleges that accept credit cards is 2.62 percent, according to a recent survey by CreditCards.com.
So on a $10,000 tuition bill, college students pay an average of $262 extra just to use a credit card. That’s before any interest that will charged, if you do not pay off the entire on your credit card bill each month.
This one is one of those quirky kinds of fees that can be easily overlooked by freshman students or parents. Who would expect that you’d pay so much extra money for the privilege of plastic?
Most people do not pay for college tuition on credit cards. But some might want to pull out a credit card. Maybe the borrower thinks they can get a 0 percent rate on a credit card for a time, build up rewards or cover an uncovered part of the tuition bill.
“College is expensive enough without taking on an extra convenience rate on top of whatever the interest rate would be,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com.
The convenience fee often is charged by the third-party processors that handle credit card payments for the colleges and universities. But the fee is not one-size-fits-all.
CreditCards.com surveyed about 300 schools including the top 100 largest public, private and community colleges.
The highest convenience fee in that survey was 2.99 percent at Western Kentucky University, St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
At the other extreme, many community colleges do not have an extra fee for using a credit card to pay tuition.
Students at only 12 percent of community colleges pay a convenience fee when charging tuition on a credit card, according to CreditCards.com.
Some schools do not accept credit cards for tuition.
But about 87 percent of the colleges surveyed accept credit cards for tuition payments at least under some circumstances. Restrictions on card usage is common, such as accepting credit card tuition payments only via online.
Some schools limit credit card payments for tuition to graduate students or only part-time students.
About 90 percent of public universities and 69 percent of private institutions that accept credit cards charge convenience fees, according to CreditCards.com.
Given the fees, experts say, college tuition falls into one of the big no-nos for credit cards. Paying your taxes on a credit card is another way to rack up big fees. For example, if you pull out your credit card to pay for your federal income taxes, you’d generally pay an extra fee of 1.87 percent to 2.35 percent depending on the service used.
Another possible issue: Some credit cards might have exclusions for earning rewards when charging tuition, said Mark Kantrowitz, a college debt expert and senior vice president and publisher for Edvisors.com.
Some big card issuers, including Bank of America and Chase, said they do not exclude tuition from rewards.
“But even if they did allow rewards, it doesn’t make sense to pay 3 percent to get 1 percent back in frequent flier miles,” Kantrowitz said.
For some students, it may not always be easy to realize exactly how much they’d pay for using a credit card. Other colleges and universities make the fees easier to spot online.
What can students and their parents do to avoid such fees? In some cases, it’s possible to avoid a convenience fee by paying online with an eCheck, an electronic debit to your checking or savings account. And, of course, you may also mail or deliver a check. Mailed payments may take a week or so to arrive and be processed.
Bottom line: If a credit card seems OK for tuition, make sure you understand the extra fees upfront. And do not forget to check into other options.
Yet how many of Harper’s legacy policies would Justin Trudeau’s Liberals or Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats demolish if either won next year’s election
The answer to that question is very unclear.
Mulcair has said he would reverse some corporate tax cuts. Trudeau has said he would scrap the Conservatives’ latest Employment Insurance reforms and start all over again.
Otherwise . . . .
Thursday’s announcement that Canada Post is being sued over plans to end home delivery in urban centres highlights this legacy question.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is launching the effort, with the support of groups representing the disabled and seniors.
Arguing that postal cutbacks infringe on the constitutional rights of Canadians may prove to be a legal stretch.
But given the unpredictable nature of politicians, an appeal to the courts is probably the wisest move CUPW could make.
True, both the Liberals and the NDP expressed outrage when Canada Post announced its plans last December.
True also that, after a rancorous debate in the Commons, both voted against these plans.
The New Democrats sponsored a cross-Canada petition to oppose the cuts. Alexandre Boulerice, the party’s critic for Canada Post, continues to raise occasional questions in the Commons.
But Canada Post is plowing ahead with plans to eliminate home delivery for almost 1.3 million households by the time of next year’s election.
And neither Mulcair nor Trudeau is promising to reverse that decision if the Conservatives are defeated.
Tellingly, neither opposition party has seriously countered Canada Post’s claim that door-to-door letter mail service is financially infeasible.
Nor has either bought into CUPW’s proposal to have Canada Post follow the lead of other postal services and get into the lucrative business of banking, a move that could help pay for mail delivery.
Instead, both the Liberals and the NDP ask for more study.
The opposition parties may be deliberately vague about undoing Harper’s postal service reforms. But they are crystal clear about Conservative tax cuts for individuals: They won’t touch them.
Mulcair would raise corporate taxes. However, he says an NDP government would not reverse any of the personal income tax cuts Harper has introduced.
Trudeau says his Liberals wouldn’t reverse any tax cuts at all — personal or corporate.
Both parties slammed Harper for cutting the GST. Yet, if elected, neither would raise it back to its previous level.
The opposition bind on taxes was underlined this week when Mulcair announced his party’s ambitious plan for a national child-care program.
That plan would, at fruition, cost Ottawa an estimated $5 billion annually. Yet the NDP is unwilling to cancel Harper’s $100 per month baby bonus scheme to help pay for it.
Instead, Mulcair says an NDP government would offer both.
And if Harper decides to dramatically expand the $2.5-billion baby bonus benefit, as some in Ottawa are suggesting he might do?
Presumably, the NDP would be afraid of monkeying with that as well.
Indeed, Harper may be able to torpedo his rivals’ pre-election spending plans simply by giving away, in the form of tax cuts, all of Ottawa’s expected multi-billion dollar surplus.
The result? Even if Harper loses the next election, much of his legacy seems fated to remain.
Harper’s Conservatives have changed much in this country. They have shrunk government social programs while increasing government surveillance. They have reconfigured the penal and judicial systems.
They have continued the process, begun under the Liberals, of scaling back the welfare state.
Mulcair or Trudeau could begin to reverse these changes if either were to become prime minister a year from now.
But would either do so? That is another question.
U.S. stocks tumbled in midday trading Wednesday as investor fears of a global economic slowdown intensified, setting the Dow Jones industrial average on course for its fourth consecutive loss.
The Dow plunged as much as 369 points in the first 10 minutes of trading, following steep declines in Europe, as the market sized up the latest batch of corporate earnings and some discouraging data on retail sales and manufacturing.
Traders dumped risky assets and parked their money in investments seen as relatively safe, such as U.S. government bonds. That pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly below 2 percent, the lowest level in more than a year.
“It’s a function of the U.S. being the best house in a bad neighborhood,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “There’s still uncertainty about economic growth, primarily on a global basis.”
The Dow recovered some of the ground it had lost in the first half-hour of trading then fell steadily again through midday. By 12:30 p.m. Eastern time it was down 295 points, or 1.8 percent, to 16,019.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 34 points, or 1.9 percent, to 1,843. The Nasdaq composite dropped 65 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,162.
All three indexes are now down for the year.
Bond prices soared as investors shifted money into safe-haven investments.
Early on, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to 1.91 percent from 2.20 percent the day before, or 29 basis points, a huge move. It recovered to 2.01 percent in midday trading. Bond yields fall when their prices rise.
“It typically takes weeks for 10-year Treasurys to move 29 basis points,” noted Tom Di Galoma, head of fixed income rates in New York at ED&F Man Capital. “Today it moved 25 basis points in 5 minutes.”
Wednesday’s slide brings the stock market closer to a correction. That’s a drop of 10 percent or more, something that hasn’t happened since October 2011.
The S&P 500 would need to fall to 1,810 to hit correction territory. For the Dow, that’s 15,551. The Nasdaq’s correction threshold is 4,138.
Even if a correction occurs, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Market watchers consider them necessary for the long-term health of the market.
“Valuation has improved here with this pullback,” Sandven said.
Stocks have been declining for nearly a month as investors have grown increasingly nervous about whether global growth is slowing. While the U.S. economy remains in recovery mode, investors are concerned that corporate earnings growth will slow this year and next due to a slowdown in Europe and, to a lesser degree, China.
Investors got more discouraging news early Wednesday, when the Commerce Department reported that retail sales declined 0.3 percent in September from the previous month. Purchases of autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing slowed.
Retail sales have risen 4.3 percent over the past 12 months, slightly below their historical pace.
A snapshot of manufacturing activity didn’t bolster optimism.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing index fell 6.2 percent in October as new orders shrank and shipments barely rose. The latest reading marks the slowest pace of growth in six months.
All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 declined, led by financial stocks, which slid 2.9 percent.
Bank of America, Regions Financial, and Citigroup were among the biggest decliners. KeyCorp led the slide among S&P 500 companies, falling $1.13, or 8.8 percent, to $11.76, after reporting earnings and revenue that fell short of what analysts were looking for.
Bucking the trend were several energy companies, including Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwest Energy and EOG Resources. Cabot paced the gainers, rising $1.37, or 4.8 percent, to $29.84.
As more companies report earnings over the next couple of weeks, investors should get a better read of the impact that the economic situation overseas will have on U.S. companies.
In overseas market action, traders worried that Europe might relapse into recession.
France’s CAC 40 sank 3.6 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 2.9 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 2.3 percent. Greece’s stock index plunged 6.3 percent on concerns that the Greek government could collapse next year, putting its bailout program in danger. The index fell 5.7 percent the previous day.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average closed up 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.4 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.6 percent and Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent after the central bank cut its growth forecasts for this year and next. Markets in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand were higher.
U.S. crude rose 5 cents to $81.89 a barrel.
Now Brantly, who has since recovered, has passed on the favour. A 26-year-old Dallas nurse named Nina Pham, who contracted the illness while treating the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., has received Brantly’s blood. It’s not the first time it has been used to treat Ebola patients. Recovered Ebola victim Richard Sacra got it, as well as U.S. journalist Ashoka Mukpo, who says he’s on the mend.
Injecting the blood of a patient like Brantly, who has recovered from Ebola and developed certain antibodies, is a decades-old, but promising, method of treatment. Academics and health officials agree it could be one of the best means to fight Ebola cash advances pay day loan. Called a convalescent serum, it might also save Pham.
“Convalescent serum is high on our list of potential therapies and has been used in other outbreaks,” a WHO spokesperson told Science in August. “There is a long history of its use, so (there is) lots of experience of what needs to be done, what norms and standards need to be met.”
But there are some problems with the treatment. One is the transfer of blood. Even when regulated and monitored, there is risk of spreading other diseases, specifically HIV or hepatitis C. Another issue is uncertainty over the treatment’s efficacy. Scientists haven’t determined a definitive, causal link between recovery and the serum.