Content tagged with 'Disease Screening' | back to all topics
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The Perils of Consenting Adults
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 1, 2010 | Jessie Gruman
Most of us like it when our health care decisions are simple and straightforward -- when the potential benefit of one option far outweighs the benefits and risks of the other. Should I smoke? No. Should I get a mammogram? Yes. However, advances in screening, preventive measures, diagnostic technologies and treatments have rendered our preference for the certainty of the simple choice obsolete.
Free Aneurysm Screenings: Not All K-Mart Blue Light Specials Are Bargains
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 28, 2010 | Gary Schwitzer
K-Mart, Medtronic, and a bunch of specialty medical groups are sponsoring a campaign called "Find the AAAnswers" - the AAA standing for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Prepared Patient: Medical Testing: You Need Answers
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 20, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service
Deborah Lewis got a shock when her pain management clinic called about a recent MRI test: They told me I needed to see an oncologist right away, that I had tumors on my spine. An oncologist did a lot of tests even though he said the MRI report didn't indicate anywhere that I had tumors or cancer. In fact, Lewis just had benign tumors common to her chronic medical condition. After a lot of wasted money, time and a whole lot of fear, we learned to question all test results,' she says.
Why Medical Testing Is Never a Simple Decision
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 20, 2010 | Marya Zilberberg
A women goes from healthy to heart transplant patient in just a few weeks. Could this have been avoided? True positives, false positives, false negatives, true negatives'how can we understand and use our test results to make good treatment decisions?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 7, 2011 | Inside Health Care
Our latest Prepared Patient, Medical Testing: You Need Answers, offers guidance on how to talk to your doctor about medical tests and what to consider before and after the test. Here are related thoughts from other blogs-Dr. John Schumann of GlassHospital, Dr. Michael Kirsch of MD Whistleblower, and Anna Sayburn on Consumer Reports Health Blog. Recent feature articles on medical tests from The Wall Street Journal & the ACPHospitalist are also included.
Guest Blog: Overdiagnosis
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 3, 2011 | Harriet Hall
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch has written a new book Over-diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, with co-authors Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin. It identifies a serious problem, debunks medical misconceptions and contains words of wisdom. We are healthier, but we are increasingly being told we are sick. We are labeled with diagnoses that may not mean anything to our health. People used to go to the doctor when they were sick, and diagnoses were based on symptoms. Today diagnoses are increasingly made on the basis of detected abnormalities in people who have no symptoms and might never have developed them.
NBC Urges Women >40 to Ask About CRP Test
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2011 | Gary Schwitzer
After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a "simple blood test that could save women's lives." Readers - and maybe especially TV viewers - beware whenever you hear a story about "a simple blood test."
Nine Out of 10 of Us Like Health-Related Numbers
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 7, 2011 | Jessie Gruman
It is not just when we are seriously ill that numbers dominate our experience with health care. Advances in technology have made it possible to quantify and thus monitor a seemingly infinite number of physiological and psychological health-related states.
We Interrupt This State Fair for a Little Prostate Cancer Screening
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 7, 2011 | Gary Schwitzer
There are a few things a man should think about seriously before rolling up his sleeve for the supposedly "simple" blood test. 'But here, prostate cancer screening is hawked in the same setting as the modern-day carnies pitching their slice-'em-and-dice-'em devices and inventions you only see at the state fair - "only at this price today!"
Health News: Proceed With Caution
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 15, 2011 | Conversation Continues
Recent posts at Health News Review highlight how the over-simplification of medical journalism leads to misinformed, over-treated patients.
Will We 'Just Say No' to Screening Tests?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 7, 2012 | Jessie Gruman
Will we - you and me and our parents and neighbors - be a significant force in quelling the tide of over-testing for the early detection of disease?
What Does it Mean if Primary Care Doctors Get the Answers Wrong About Screening Stats?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 22, 2012 | Elaine Schattner
Recently the Annals of Internal Medicine published a new report on how doctors (don't) understand cancer screening stats. This unusual paper reveals that some primary care physicians a majority of those who completed a survey don't really get the numbers on cancer incidence, 5-year survival and mortality.
Selling Screening Tests
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 8, 2012 | Trudy Lieberman
A few weeks ago, a letter arrived from the Life Line Screening company enticing me to come in for a 'simple, potentially lifesaving screening' to assess my risk for strokes and other vascular diseases.
Fast Food Medicine: A Missed Opportunity for Shared Decision Making
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 13, 2012 | Sarah Jorgenson
Though I may want fast food health care when I'm healthy, I don't want it if I'm sick or have the potential to be sick. People want to have the opportunity for a dining-in experience, not just fast food.
Too Much Medical Care: Do We Know It When We See It?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 11, 2013 | Kenny Lin
If I didn't object to receiving what I recognized as too much medical care, it should not be a surprise that, according to one study, many inappropriate tests and treatments are being provided more often, not less.
False Alarms and Unrealistic Expectations in Preventive Care
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 28, 2013 | Kenny Lin
Shortly after we moved to Washington, DC, my wife and I purchased a basic home security system, the kind with a programmable keypad, multiple door alarms and a motion sensor. All things considered, it's hard to argue that the benefits of this preventive measure have outweighed its cumulative harms.
Five Years Later: Zigzagging Toward Acceptance
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 8, 2013 | Kathi Kolb
"Your biopsy is positive." None of us ever forgets when we first heard some version of that phrase. I heard it five years ago today...
Quelling the Tide of Over-Testing
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 24, 2013 | Conversation Continues
Lately it seems that more health care insiders are advocating for a "less is more" approach for some screening tests. Cancer, dementia and kidney disease are a few examples. But will we just say "no"?
The Costs of Being a Patient and a Doctor
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 19, 2013 | Jane Liu
My ultrasound came back "likely benign" with the recommendation that I follow up in six weeks to be sure. Over the next few weeks, I received one bill after another that totaled $1,000. Unable to pay, I felt abandoned by the system to which I had committed my career and did not call to schedule a second ultrasound...
Seven Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Cancer Survivorship
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 4, 2013 | Jessie Gruman
It is challenging, in the years following a cancer diagnosis, to assemble health care that protects us from the lingering effects of the disease and its treatment and that alerts us to a recurrence or new cancer. I hope these reflections will help those who've been diagnosed with cancer live as long and as well as they can...
Advice for People New to Health Insurance (Part 1): Getting Covered
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 23, 2013 | CFAH Staff
In part one of our series, we look at the basics of picking a health insurance plan that's right for you, your family or a loved one. Our 'Be a Prepared Patient' resources can help you find the best coverage at the best price for your health needs...
Advice for People New to Health Insurance (Part 5): Do You Need a Yearly Checkup?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 30, 2013 | Be a Prepared Patient
In part five of our series, we look at the yearly check-up and offer resources for people who are trying to decide which preventive care services are right for them...
NBC Vastly Exaggerates the Potential Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 16, 2014 | Gary Schwitzer
When we talk about a consistently clear pattern of news stories that exaggerate or emphasize benefits while minimizing or ignoring harms, we are talking about stories exactly like this one...
The Other 'F' Word
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 6, 2014 | Jackie Fox
At my six-month checkup yesterday all was routine, other than my blood pressure being 131 over something when it's usually in the 115 range. Ten years ago I wouldn't have shared my fears at all, but thanks to early-stage breast cancer it's hard for my mind not to immediately go to the worst-case scenario...
The Goldilocks Approach to Our Health Knowledge: How Much Is Just Right?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 26, 2014 | Jessie Gruman
Most professional health care stakeholders believe that the more we patients and caregivers know about our health and diseases, the better our outcomes will be. When faced with the facts about our health risks and dangerous habits, they think we will rationally change our behaviors and correct our misunderstandings. As a patient, I want to know: At what point do I know enough to reap these hypothetical benefits?
Shared Decision Making: Blending Beliefs and Attitudes With Evidence
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 7, 2014 | Don S. Dizon
My patient, Mary, was a 28-year-old woman who had completed chemotherapy for stage II breast cancer. After discussing surveillance, frequency of follow-up and ASCO guidelines, I recommended against further testing or imaging. Mary was well aware of the evidence, but she had different plans...
How Much Is a Patient's Peace of Mind Worth?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 12, 2014 | Anne Polta
If something is medically useless, does it still have value if it gives the patient (and perhaps the clinician as well) some peace of mind? To many patients, this is no small thing. Unfortunately, it's also often abetted by consumer marketing that plays up the peace-of-mind aspect of certain tests while remaining silent about the limited benefit, the possible risk and the clinical complexity that may be part of the larger picture...
Getting Good Care: 'I Wish It Were More Newsworthy. I'm Afraid It's Not.'
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 21, 2014 | Jessie Gruman
Unfortunately, the nitty gritty of getting good care is not really newsworthy, unless we're talking about how poor it is. However, there are opportunities for journalists and writers to report "news you can use" that would be very helpful to many people, and there is a big gap in reporting on most of these necessary tasks...
Cancer Screening: Understanding 'Relative Risk'
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 3, 2014 | Kenny Lin
I have offered before a few reasons for eligible patients to consider not getting screened for lung cancer. I concede, however, that reasonable people might conclude that the potential harms are outweighed by the benefit of reducing one's risk of dying by one-fifth. The next critical question that needs to be asked is: one-fifth of what?
Don't Forget the Hefty Price We Pay to Engage in Health
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 12, 2014 | Jessie Gruman
Media-fueled flip-flops and research breakthroughs on lifestyle and health behaviors are wearing down my usual patience with the provisional nature of science. Even simple dietary recommendations like lower fat/salt recommendations have become complicated as old truisms are overturned by new evidence. So I'm asking: To whom should I turn for meaningful guidance about modifying my risk for illness and boosting my health?
Ingenious Hospitals Find a New Way to Snag Patients
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 29, 2014 | Trudy Lieberman
A mother takes her teenage son to an urgent care center that is part of her insurance plan's network. A clerk quickly refers him to the emergency room, across the street, which just happens to be part of the same hospital system as the urgent care center. Is this UCC sending some patients to its related hospital ER, clearly a place of high-priced care, to gin up revenue for the system's bottom line?...
Clever Hospitals Find Another Way to Snag New Patients
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 13, 2014 | Trudy Lieberman
As I sat on a New York subway one sizzler of a day, an ad for an ice cream cone grabbed my attention. After a closer read, I realized the ad was not touting ice cream but the Center for Advanced Digestive Care, a part of New York Presbyterian, one of the city's most prestigious hospitals and well known for its TV ads designed to cultivate brand recognition. The ice cream cone was an effective attention-grabber. So was the message…
We Don't Ration Health Care in America. Or Do We?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 29, 2014 | Trudy Lieberman
As narrower insurance networks begin to limit where we can get our care and contradict the American notion of abundant choices, I thought about the Canadian health care system and rumors of its long waiting lists that grab U.S. headlines. Yet, narrow insurance networks, sky-high deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays are ways of controlling our medical expenditures. Instead of rationing with waiting lists, America rations with price...