Have the benefits of health screenings been oversold. More doctors admit to exaggerating the benefits of many health screenings

Have the benefits of health screenings been oversold. More doctors admit to exaggerating the benefits of many health screenings

More doctors than ever are coming to the forefront admitting and having a discussion about the need for all those tests, drugs, procedures, etc. It is healthy for this discussion to take on a life of its own. It is discomforting to hear it from the loyal patients point of view because all this stuff was supposed to save lives, or at least that was what we were told it would do. The reality is that many of these tests made the public less secure about their own health and now the profession that supposedly was keeping them alive really wasn’t. What is a patient to do? Once we digest what is going on, you may find it is much healthier to be more independent and the body seems to manage many things itself, without the constant worrying. Perhaps, reducing dependence on physicians by the public will result in healthier and better doctor patients relationships and a greatly reduce the strain on our health care resources by eliminating avoidable worry, fear, testing and procedures.

Check out this newest article in the NY Times. It is a great health discussion by some concerned physicians.

Essay

Endless Screenings Don’t Bring Everlasting Health

By LISA M. SCHWARTZ, M.D. and STEVEN WOLOSHIN, M.D.
Published: April 16, 2012

This month, nine major medical specialty groups published a list of 45 tests and procedures that often have no clear benefit for patients and can cause harm — CT scans for simple headaches, for example, and X-rays for routine lower back pain. You don’t often hear calls from doctors for fewer tests and procedures.

And that’s too bad. Many of them have been oversold, their benefits exaggerated and their harms ignored.

Consider cancer screening. For decades, it has been nearly impossible to watch television, read popular magazines or ride public transportation without seeing advertisements urging regular mammograms, colonoscopies or P.S.A. blood tests. These messages have had a profound effect: the public is now extremely enthusiastic about the notion that we should routinely screen people without symptoms for cancer. In one national survey, most Americans said that cancer screening is almost always a good idea and that finding cancer early saves lives most of the time.

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