The third part of this continuing series. A reader writes:

Two big practice patterns have emerged over the past years (especially after I was sued in 2001). I order CT scans for almost any complaint and the level of my care is more intensive. Everyone with a headache gets a non contrast head CT. Everyone with any type of abdominal complaint gets a CT scan of the abdomen and ...

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The detection rate of breast cancers on mammograms ranged from 29 to 97 percent in a study
"His team studied doctors' actual performance in interpreting more than 1.2 million mammograms and compared this with data from cancer registries in four states.

Doctors who interpreted 2,500 to 4,000 mammograms a year were the most accurate and had the fewest false positives, meaning they thought something was a tumour but it ...

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A jury has awarded $8 million to the husband of a woman who died after chemotherapy that wasn't necessary
"The attorney for Charles Pandrea says a private autopsy showed that his wife Janet did not have the cancer she was treated for.

Attorney Michael Ryan says Janet Pandrea had a benign tumor in one lung, which could have been operated on. He says she developed side effects from ...

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Malpractice fears put doctors on defense
"When Geoffrey Blatt went to medical school, he was taught not to order unnecessary tests for his patients. Now, even some patients with headaches get brain scans.

'You're afraid of the one-in-10,000 patient that may have a brain tumor,' the Kansas City neurosurgeon said.

And afraid that the patient may sue for malpractice.

Defensive medicine like this has become standard operating ...

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Sounds like primary care physicians are going through the same pains in Canada
"Family medicine is a tough sell. Patient needs are more complex than ever. They're older and not coming through their doctor's door with one ailment. Some have diabetes and heart disease. Others have had a stroke and are now battling cancer. These aren't patients that can be seen and sent on their way at the end of ...

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A cancer specialist is calling for a tax on Big Macs and other fast food
"Dr Anna Gregor, the country's 'cancer tsar' and the Lothians lead cancer clinician, believes an extra two per cent tax on fast food could encourage people to adopt a healthier diet.

She said this in itself would help boost cancer survival rates and the extra revenue could be used to promote healthy eating initiatives."

A physician diagnosed with breast cancer communicates with her doctors via text messaging
"'Can you text me my result?' I asked my colleague. She looked horrified. As breast radiologists and clinicians working in the screening service our most difficult job is to give bad news. But by text? Suddenly with black humour we could imagine the headlines, 'Patient receives diagnosis of breast cancer by text message.'"

The family of a late Harvard professor is suing his doctors for missing a lung cancer
"The doctors all failed to recognize a 1-centimeter lung lesion on a chest X-ray taken of the Harvard University professor in February 2001, according to Alex MacDonald, the lawyer for Gould's survivors.

Thirteen months later, after another chest X-ray was taken, the lesion had grown to 3 centimeters and the cancer had spread ...

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Hundreds of women were not notified of their abnormal PAP results
"The failure by Jacobi Medical Center to notify hundreds of women about the results of their cancer-screening tests stemmed from a decision made 16 months ago to place a single clerk in charge of scheduling appointments and notifying thousands of at-risk patients of their test results, city officials said yesterday."

Another failure in notification - similar to ...

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Lack of follow-up again leads to a lawsuit
"A Shaler woman participating in a federal study on early detection of cancers was not told of abnormal chest X-ray findings, possibly delaying her diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer by years . . .

. . . Grace Isherwood, now 77, had an X-ray in April 2000 that indicated an abnormality in her upper right lung.

The results were ...

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