Baby boomers and HCV screening — 2 Comments

  1. The test and follow up with expensive, aggressive treatment mentality has a checkered past. Remember when every man over age 40 was advised to have his PSA checked as a screening tool for prostate cancer? Surgical intervention and hormonal agents likely caused more deaths from complications, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease than prostate cancer.

    These drug company promotions seem to be cyclic. Those get tested for Low “T” ads were everywhere a few months ago. Testosterone replacement fuels prostate cancer and contributes to strokes and heart attacks. I don’t even think the long term effects are known.

    It would be much more effective to develop strategies to define and delineate risk than to advocate widespread screening for these problems.

    • Yeah, there are many advocates in the healthcare system that are attempting to control the American trend of overscreening. The public perception is that any screening test that can “catch” cancer or other disease “early” can only be good. Sadly, that’s often not the case. Overtreatment adds billions to our healthcare costs, not to mention added emotional stress.

      Other countries with regulated healthcare costs do as you suggest, and offer screenings on individual basis of risk/need. They spend less than we do, and the results are the same regarding death rates.

      As long as we have a fee-for-service system, though, financial incentives will always support overscreening and overtreating.

      Thanks for the comment! FN