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False Positives And The Dangers Of Too Much CT Scanning

On the US News & World report website, Dr. Kenny Lin writes as a physician and a concerned observer about “Dangers of Incidentaloma: Why To Think Twice Before Getting a CT Scan.”

It’s an important issue. Give it a look.

Lin’s blog, “The Common Sense Family Doctor,” is also worth visiting. Recently he cited one of my alltime favorite essays, “The Last Well Person,” by Dr. Clifton Meador, who wrote in 1994:

“The demands of the public for definitive wellness are colliding with the public’s belief in a diagnostic system that can find only disease. A public in dogged pursuit of the unobtainable, combined with clinicians whose tools are powerful enough to find very small lesions, is a setup for diagnostic excess. And false positives are the arithmetically certain result of applying a disease-defining system to a population that is mostly well. … If the behavior of doctors and the public continues unabated, eventually every well person will be labeled sick. Like the invalids, we will all be assigned to one diagnosis-related group or another. How long will it take to find every single lesion in every person? Who will be the last well person?”

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*


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