To screen or not to screen
That is the question women are asking (well,
I’m asking). But there is no clear answer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aka
Pinktober. The news and social media are already broadcasting the message “Mammograms save lives.”
That simplistic platitude isn’t enough. Do screening mammograms really save lives? What do the numbers tell us?
Cancer screening has become a huge business in our …
read on May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month
We’re on the cusp of summer, which is a great time to think about protecting your skin from the sun.
More than 4 million people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every year in the US. Damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is responsible for the majority of cases.
The best skin cancer prevention tip? Limit your exposure to UV light, …
read on Have you had unnecessary medical procedures?
If you see a physician on a regular basis and always follow his or her advice regarding routine screening tests or common diagnostic tests for minor illnesses, the answer is probably
I just finished reading
of these unnecessary medical procedures. a new report published in my state (Washington) about the extent and cost
This is a problem I’ve posted about before. Many …
read on Unnecessary tests = unnecessary expense
This is a follow up to
my last post about the dangers of too much medical care.
One of the biggest doors leading to an overabundance of healthcare and healthcare costs is the annual exam and all the “routine” lab work that is ordered almost without thought.
Doctors’ offices strive to be efficient. They have a lot of patients to see every day, after …
read on Too much testing = too much medicine
I just ran across an old doctor joke:
What is a well person? Someone who hasn’t yet been thoroughly examined.
It’s not funny, of course, if you’re the patient and have suffered the harms—and the expense—of too much medical care.
In 2010, my husband was the victim of too much medical care. Because of complications and a string of medical errors he almost …
read on The debate over screening ECGs
When my son was a teenager, he participated in several school sports, including track and field.
And it always freaked me out when I heard a news report about a young teen athlete suddenly dying on a track or a basketball court.
The stories were similar: young, seemingly healthy teenagers died because no one knew they had a problem with their hearts.
Every time I …
read on Colon cancer on the rise in young adults that colon cancer is on the rise in Millenials and GenXers. I recently read a disturbing report
People born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer, compared with those born around 1950 when the risk was lowest, the researchers said.
The overall risk is still very low for that age group, …
read on More tests = more money
Anyone who has read my blog over the years knows this is a subject I come back to again and again: the overuse of screening and diagnostic tests.
It’s a problem in our healthcare system for a couple of reasons.
First, the majority of healthcare providers are paid based on volume. In other words, the more patients they see, the more tests they run, the …
read on Don’t get health advice from commercials!
While nursing my cold last weekend, I was watching TV and one prescription drug commercial caught my eye. (One of oh so many. FTC—
please make these go away!)
Actually, the ad didn’t mention any drug by name, but it was sponsored by Gilead Sciences, the makers of the new hepatitis C drug, Harvoni.
The commercial was
aimed at baby boomers, who were advised … read on Happy New (Calendar) Year! It’s the start of a new year or, in health insurance lingo, the start of I’m reposting this from last January, because this month is the best time to start trying to schedule that annual exam or annual wellness visit (it could take weeks, after all, to get an appointment!). a new calendar year deductible.
I usually advise people to get any screening tests or annual …