Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gambling on Your Health

"Early October brought two developments in the world of cancer screening." The first was the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which calls for regular mammograms for women. The second was a recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force that healthy men do not get screened for prostate cancer. The author says there are two basic harms of screening: false-positive tests and overdiagnoses. "Approximately 15 to 20 percent of women and men who are screened annually over a 10-year period will have to undergo at least one biopsy because of a false-positive mammogram or P.S.A. — prostate-specific antigen — test." The author also points out that in breast cancer screening, there are about 5 to 15 people who are overdiagnosed each year. So, its really your decision whether you want to take a gamble on your health. 
The author of this article, H. Gilbert Welch, is very biased. He implies that he does not believe in screening and he would never get screened himself. But, he points out that he does not believe people who do get screened are wrong. The point he is trying to get across is that even if you do get screened, it doesn't mean the results are going to be a hundred percent accurate. Welch says, "Screening is like gambling: there are winners and there are losers. And while the few winners win big, there are a lot more losers." Many people believe that getting screened is the best possible health decision you can make. But, Welch explains why that theory may be wrong. 

Click here to view the article

No comments:

Post a Comment