Overdiagnosed

Excellently done medical documentary. There are so many drivers to do more testing and more treatment. Patient wishes, fear of lawsuit, monetary compensation. We do, do, do and spend, spend, spend and fight, fight, fight but perhaps we do too much. For all we spend America lags in health results.

How can more testing and treatment be bad? Why wouldn’t you want to screen for cancer and be safe? Because most cancer never hurts us. But when we find cancer we don’t know if it will hurt us or not, so we feel compelled to act.

On mammography; The best studies say, for every 2000 40 year old women getting mammograms every year for 10 years, we save at most one woman from cancer. Yet we give 500 to 1000 woman false alarms requiring biopsies. And we treat with surgery and chemo 2-10 woman for breast cancer that would never have hurt them. For men and prostate screeing with PSA the numbers are even worse triggering testing, worry and impotency without clear benefit.

Testing has a place, but we need to be wise. (The numbers for mammography get a lot better after age 50). This documentary is a start. For more check out “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health” http://www.amazon.com/Overdiagnosed-Making-People-Pursuit-Health/dp/0807022004

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