Many aging men have been told by their doctors that when they reach a certain age, they must endure the PSA test, which of late has been chastised because of its inaccuracy in predicting prostate cancers in older men. The problem with prostate cancers is that the cure as we now are finding out many years later was worse than the what if factor of the disease. The NY times recently did an article which asked the question, can cancer ever be ignored? They examine the idea in a healthy way. Read the article here .
The problem is that the cancer establishment has one way of thinking for all cancers, with the problem being that their tools of cutting it out, burning it out or poisoning it out harm many people and in many cases, make us afraid of a disease which their methods may never even cure (there are other methods that may, however, they often do not get recommended – read article here).
In the case of prostate cancer, most men usually die from something else. Those, who out of fear take their doctors recommendation of treatment of surgery with radiation often become impotent, incontinent and have other health problems caused by the cure for a problem that may not have ever been a problem for them. In other words, their health insurer paid to permanently damage someone physically, while they submit out of fear enforced by their health care provider.
The current recommendations via a government panel which came out last week sets the stage for a dogmatic war between those who believe and have profited from these treatments and the government whose growing evidence suggests that prostate surgery is just the wrong thing to do, and also questions the validity of not only the PSA test but also the validity of treating something that we are convincing people is harmful, even though many men finally succumb to other health problems. Since we do not and cannot live forever, we really should rethink the value of all this testing and the repercussions of treatment based on dogma, economic value to those who administer it and the overall benefit to the healthcare consumer.
In today’s high cost and changing healthcare environment, one must ask if the benefits outweigh the risks and is too much knowledge bad for my health. In the case of the PSA test it is.
There is of course one more wrinkle; The National Academy of Sciences said Thursday that the federal government should explicitly consider cost as a factor in deciding what health benefits must be provided by insurance plans under President Obama’s health care overhaul, and it said the cost of any new benefits should be “offset by savings” elsewhere in the health care system. Read more here
Relating back to chiropractors in general, who have shown their cost effectiveness in the treatment of many conditions, perhaps, this panel will begin to seriously look at why the profession is so underutilized for many back and extremity conditions. Cheaper and working better with greater satisfaction may be able to overcome dogmatic belief systems that are expensive and do not work as well. There are many times a patient visits the office with stories of how many health care practitioners and how much they spent trying to fix their chronic pain. Dr. Oz just recently said it was a disease which further muddies the waters. The book, Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain does balance this and sheds light on why people hurt and how they can finally find the relief they deserved cost effectively. It also sheds light on how to prevent chronic pain. The important point here is prevent. Unfortunately, in our current health care system, the policy is test, elicit fears of the unknown and then test and elicit more fear. Then we intervene, with mixed outcomes and occasional mishaps which can be life altering. Prevention is just that, making it possible so a person may never experience the problem by preventing it. Cheating Mother Nature makes this distinction and you as the consumer should understand it as well.
What do you think? As always, I value your opinion.