Routine screening test recommendations, and how newspapers often get it wrong

As a primary care physician, I generally follow the guidelines of the USPSTF, an entity that uses rigorous standards of evidence as the basis for their recommendations.

Sadly, however, major media publications fall short of such standards whenever they delve into “which screening tests should I get”-type of articles.

The latest example is this piece from the Washington Post, discussing recommended tests men should ask for.

Journalism professor Gary Schwitzer takes some of their recommendations to task, including testicular cancer screening, a baseline EKG, and skin cancer screening, all of which fall short of the USPSTF recommending it.

Major media outlets do a disservice by not adhering to evidence-based guidelines, which only serves to perpetuate the dangerous, and costly, myth that more tests must equal better medicine.

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