Cancer Screening: Are You Really Informed?

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“We don’t want people to panic” says Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the cancer society, “but I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages of screening have been exaggerated.”

New York Times Published: October 20, 2009

It strikes me as odd that every business in the world wants informed customers…except medicine. Why doesn’t medicine? Because informed customers (aka: patients) might opt out if they knew the truth.
So says a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. I believe these same numbers would also apply in any country that broadly recommends cancer screenings, including America.

The PLOS study referenced an English study that stated that cancer screenings “over diagnose” 20% of breast cancers and 50% of prostate cancer. According to PLOS, 80% of women deny ever being told about the risk for being over diagnosed of breast cancer and 90% of men deny ever being told that clearly one half of them would be over diagnosed with prostate cancer. A full 93% said that they needed to know the benefits as well as the risks that cancer screenings offer. Wouldn’t you? Are you? No, 90% of you are not.

In America, we are grossly over sold on cancer screening. One cannot turn on the radio without hearing your favorite show host hyper selling “the man test” or pushing some costly race or walk that promotes mammography. Then they continue with something like, “how dare those of us who opt out, not love our family enough to submit to these “lifesaving” tests? Really? THEY ARE PAID TO SAY THIS, FOLKS!

Please don’t submit to cancer screening tests that you aren’t comfortable with. Talk to your doctor honestly about the pros and cons of any test. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a PSA test, because I never felt they were accurate. No urologist in America cares for my prostate like I do.

But also, be wise. If you are not into health at all, have diseases, drink even a little alcohol, get no exercise, or choose to smoke, then please let no one judge you, but seriously consider cancer screenings, as I believe they can be lifesaving in certain instances. Just know that cancer screenings can, and do according to this article, grossly over diagnose cancer, and this is working wonderfully for the business of cancer. You may not be honestly informed about these tests before you take them, but here is the great news….the seed has now been planted-you just read this blog! Think, and choose to be well!


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