New draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on prostate cancer screening for men age 55 to 69 create as much confusion as clarity.
The group now says that healthy men younger than 70 with no signs of prostate cancer should “no longer be discouraged” from checking their PSA levels. They essentially punted the decision to the individual, proposing that men determine with their doctors whether and when to undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. Is this a good thing for medicine? It depends on perspective, and perhaps the doctor’s specialty. Continue reading
The potential benefits of genetic testing are widely touted and drive greater interest in these tests – even though the validity of the science behind such testing remains unclear.
Charles Piller, the West Coast editor for Boston-based online news site Stat, recently reported on the lack of a firm scientific basis for a test that Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif., has been marketing as an “opioid risk” detector. Continue reading
When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reported in late June that the evidence does not currently support routine pelvic exams during a woman’s OB-GYN visit, most media outlets covered it, as they should have.
But the quality of that coverage was spotty. Few stories captured the important nuances that distinguish pelvic exams from cervical cancer screenings and general wellness visits. Nor did many include the essential elements that women should know to understand the implications of the new recommendations.
Fortunately, the story isn’t over. What the commission issued were draft recommendations that won’t become official until after a public comment period that ended July 25. Continue reading
Siobhan O’Connor recently explored in a Time magazine piece an issue that has been gaining traction in both the medical world and the media reporting on it: the overtreatment of breast cancer.
Her story, “Why Doctors Are Rethinking Breast-Cancer Treatment,” opens with an anecdote from now-60-year-old Desiree Basila, who several years ago decided to do … nothing after receiving a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a stage 0 cancer in the breast ducts that was not invasive – and may never become so. What makes this opening anecdote striking was not simply Basila’s decision – one that has been discussed more often in recent years – but when it occurred: Continue reading
Dental care and medical care have long been provided separately in America. New research and evolving models of care are challenging that traditional gap.
Chronic diseases are responsible for billions of dollars in health care costs and millions of deaths each year. Dental office screenings for diabetes, as well as other common conditions such as high cholesterol and hypertension could save the nation’s health care system as much as $102.6 million annually, researchers from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Resources Center concluded in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
In this new tip sheet, Mary Otto explains some of the screenings and interventions that may be coming to a dentist’s chair near you, as well as some of the question around providing such care.
Medicare reimburses for cancer and other screenings as part of routine care for older adults. Of course, the goal is to catch diseases in their earliest, most treatable stages. But can preventive care become too much of a good thing?
For years, evidence has grown about wasted Medicare dollars on needless screenings. The Center for Public Integrity found that 40 percent of Medicare spending on common cancer screenings are unnecessary – costing billions of taxpayer dollars. Continue reading