Tag Archives: screenings

Study documents disparities that contribute to late diagnosis of oral cancer


Photo: Stephanie Young Merzel via Flickr

Research has long shown that Americans from minority groups and those with a lower socioeconomic status are less likely to get routine dental visits than patients who are white and more affluent. A new study finds that even when minorities or those who are poorer and less educated do receive oral health services, they are less likely to receive oral cancer (OC)screenings that could lead an early diagnosis. Continue reading

Changes to prostate screening recommendations nuanced

Photo: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

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

While genetic tests proliferate, journalists cite the lack of scientific evidence

Photo: Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr

Photo: Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr

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

Another chance to get the story on women’s pelvic exams right

Photo: Ann C. Ball via Flickr

Photo: Ann C. Ball via Flickr

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

Time takes a critical look at breast cancer treatment

Photo Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

Photo: Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

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