Nancy Snyderman: Is she aware of any evidence-based guidelines?

Dr. Nancy Snyderman is NBC’s chief medical editor. She went on The Today Show and irresponsibly spouted off cancer screening suggestions that did not follow any accepted guidelines (emphasis mine):

In discussing colon cancer screening, Snyderman explained that because she has a family history, she started having colonoscopies at age 40 in two to three year intervals. She says now that she’s over 50 she gets one every year. “And I get one more than my doctors really recommend because I just get a little nervous about it,” Snyderman said.

Contrast this to the USPSTF’s recommendations which states that a colonoscopy is routinely recommended every 10 years or a sigmoidoscopy/FOBT every 5 years.

Here’s what she says about prostate cancer screening:

“You turn 50, you just have to have a rectal exam to feel that prostate. And you get a prostate-specific antigen, a PSA test.”

Again, look at the USPSTF and you will find zero data supporting that approach. Most guidelines suggest a shared decision with the patient after discussing the risks and benefits of PSA screening for prostate cancer:

Routine PSA measurement without a frank discussion of the issues involved is inappropriate. Patients who elect to be screened, either by digital rectal examination or PSA measurement, should provide verbal informed consent.

If physicians themselves can’t follow the evidence-based guidelines, how can they expect the public to?

This is shoddy medical advice, and irresponsible journalism to present this as the accepted standard of care. (via Schwitzer)

Dr. Snyderman is an ENT physician according to her profile. I suggest that she brushes up on some of her primary care recommendations.

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