Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Selective screening perhaps?

DFO at Huckleberries links to an article where doctors may be rethinking a blanket recommendation.

How a blanket recommendation was considered a good idea in the first place I don't know? Good for doctors and the hospitals who stand to profit, but following a herd mentality is rarely good for the patients.

Mammograms from ages 40-50? Maybe not
Reopening a long-running debate, the American College of Physicians, which represents 120,000 internists, plans to issue new guidelines today that instead urge women in their 40s to consult with their doctors individually about whether to get the breast X-rays.

The group based its recommendations on a comprehensive review of research on mammography that concluded the benefit is less clear for women in their 40s than for those 50 and older, and that screening carries significant risks, including exposure to radiation and unnecessary biopsies, surgery and chemotherapy.

The guidelines conflict with long-standing recommendations from several other leading medical groups, including the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute.
It is good to see that they realize the risks may actually be risks and therefore they blanket recommendation doesn't fit. Of course the two cancer conglomerates don't want anyone to intrude on their fund-mongering. They make a healthy living off the fear of cancer, and turning that fear into donations for their research that hasn't yielded much success.

Perhaps there is another way to narrow the field before recommending screenings.
But others said the recommendations represent a more nuanced approach that better reflects what is known about the benefits and drawbacks of mammography.
Perhaps it is time to look at filtering the screening to the high risk groups.

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