- 30,000,000 men will have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
- 6,000,000 will have elevated PSA levels (a "positive" result)
- 180,000 will be found to have prostate cancer
That is a false alarm rate of 97%!
I don't for one minute think medicine is easy. However, I wish to reassure meteorologists that the false-alarm rate for general public storm warnings is not unique to our science.
Consider the following: The budget of the National Weather Service is $1.5 billion/year.
The cost of screening those 30 million men is $30,000,000,000 per year!! That is twenty times the budget of the National Weather Service*.
Of course, there are apples, oranges and pineapples here. The point is that meteorology does a very good job with limited resources and that false alarms are not confined to our discipline.
*Note: Weather satellites, because they have uses beyond meteorology, come out of the budget of NOAA and NASA.