Screening for prostate cancer has become controversial.

The US Preventive Services Task Force concludes that the evidence is insufficient to fully endorse prostate cancer screening in younger men and they recommend against screening for prostate cancer in men over the age of 75.

And a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that, after 7 to 10 years of follow-up, screening men with a prostate specific ...

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The answer is no.

Besides the fact that the USPSTF already recommends against ovarian cancer screening, MedPage Today reports a study concluding that screening led to a high rate of unnecessary surgery.

During four years of screening with a transvaginal ultrasound and the CA 125 biomarker , "the surgery-to-cancer ratio was 19.5:1," meaning that almost 20 surgeries would be needed for every case of ovarian cancer ...

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According to the Alzheimer's Association, now is the time to address the burgeoning Alzheimer's crisis, especially with baby boomers in the midst of Medicare age.

Alzheimer's dementia boosts the cost of caring for the elderly almost three-fold, from about $10,000 to $33,000 per year, and as Amy Tuteur blogs, "the report of the Alzheimer's Association assumes that the enormous cost of Alzheimer's care is a morally necessary burden, but ...

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According to some cardiologists, the answer is yes.

However, MedPage Today reports that, in a recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology meetings, the positive predictive value of such a strategy was low, and that, "To screen enough children to identify one with complex congenital heart disease or potentially life-threatening arrhythmia, the cost was $42,904."

Pediatricians have challenged this finding, calling mass screening for children, ...

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With the recent controversy surrounding prostate cancer screening, it's now time to look at mammograms and breast cancer screening.

Like the PSA test, there is little data saying that mammograms decrease the mortality rate from breast cancer. And indeed, some of the harms of breast cancer screening are being publicized in the UK.

The number needed to treat, a statistic that is gaining increasing relevance in ...

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Should mortality be the only outcome that matters?

Dartmouth's Gil Welch has a nice op-ed in the LA Times, discussing whether the very small benefit in lives saved from prostate cancer screening (via Schwitzer) is worth the substantial cost of side effects from overtreatment.

When talking about the recent European study finding a very small benefit to screening, Dr. Welch observes that, "Being 50 times more ...

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Recent studies in the NEJM have fueled the uncertainty surrounding prostate cancer screening.

The USPSTF recommends against screening men older than age 75 for prostate cancer, and gives an "I" recommendation for younger men.

Despite the controversy, there are plenty of anecdotes of men whose lives were saved by the PSA blood test. Will the lack of evidence sway men away from getting the test?


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Criticizing cancer screening advocates can be a difficult thing to do.

Gary Schwtizer writes about the case of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is introducing a new bill advocating breast cancer screening to begin earlier than the current suggested age of 40.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42, and wants "to educate the public, particularly young women and their doctors, ...

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CBS is promoting a free colonoscopy sweepstakes, which, I guess, is enough of a prize to pique a person's interest during the recession.

But, as Dr. Wes points out, there are serious issues with the contest. First, take a look at the extensive fine print, with not-so-subtly warns that any information given will be shared with advertisers third-parties.

He also wonders about the posh Center for ...

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Ah, a perfect question for comparative effectiveness research.

Surgeon Jeffrey Parks takes a look at a study looking at breast MRIs during the pre-operative workup of patients with breast cancer.

Essentially, surgical outcomes were not improved, and worse, "leads to a higher rate of unnecessary mastectomy, and is extremely expensive (about $1600 a pop, out of pocket)."

Although there are specific cases where a breast MRI ...

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