Sunday, January 17, 2010

AARP article downplays the need for cancer screenings


The Jan-Feb. 2010 AARP Bulletin has an informative article by Sandra G. Boodman, “The Risks & Benefits of Cancer Screenings” (p. 14), link here, with the overall view that sometimes less is more.

Toward the end of the piece, Boodman quotes Dartmouth surgeon H. Gilbert Welch as saying that for every life saved by male prostate surgery (and/or radiation), there are 50 unnecessary surgeries or interventions, sometimes with complications like impotence and incontinence.

The article also downplays the degree of panic over breast cancer, saying that a 40 year old woman actually has “only” a 1.4% chance of developing breast cancer in the next decade, but that risk increases with each decade, obviously.

They're still not letting up on the idea of a baseline colonoscopy at 50, and at 66 I haven't had one yet, even the first "free" one on Medicare. I dread the prep.

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