Friday, November 20, 2009
Times stories about recommendations for less cancer screening
I think these new medical guidelines would be easier to accept if the various panels and study groups came up with numbers for false positives and went into more detail about the damage that too much testing does to people's lives. That's the missing piece here. The only number we have is the ONE--that's the one person out of almost 2,000 whose breast cancer might not be discovered in time if women between 40 and 50 don't have mammograms. What we need to know is at least some approximation of how many people have their lives disrupted for no good reason when over-testing is the rule. How many people have unnecessary surgery, por ejemplo. And in the case of cervical cancer, how many young women have had trouble in childbirth, maybe, as a result of unneeded pap smears.