Women have been told they should have screening for cervical cancer with a pap test every year. The visit to the gynecologist or internal medicine physician has been a right of passage for most young women and most are very compliant with that annual visit throughout their lives.
Well, the times they are a-changin’ because new guidelines issued by the US Preventative Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society say women should undergo screening NO MORE OFTEN than every 3 years starting at age 21. To further strengthen this recommendation, even the American Society for Clinical Pathology (those folks that read the pap smears) agrees with the recommendation. They also recommend stopping routine pap smears after age 65 for women who have had 3 negative Pap test results in the past 10 years. These women are just not at high risk.
So why the change? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
I received a call recently from an emergency room (ER) physician about a patient who presented there with rectal bleeding. Does this sound blogworthy? Hardly. We gastro physicians get this call routinely. Here’s the twist. The emergency room physician presented the case and recommended that the patient be discharged home. He was calling me to verify that our office would provide this patient with an office appointment in the near term, which we would. We had an actual dialogue.
This was a refreshing experience since the typical emergency room conversation of a rectal bleeder ends differently. Here’s what usually occurs. We are contacted and are notified that the patient has been admitted to the hospital and our in-patient consultative services are being requested. In other words, we are not called to discuss whether hospitalization is necessary, but are simply being informed that a decision has already been made.
There is a tension between emergency room physicians and the rest of us over what constitutes a reasonable threshold to hospitalize a patient. I have found that many ER docs pull the hospitalization trigger a little faster than I do. What’s my explanation for this? Here are some possibilities. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*
This week has been proclaimed International Men’s Health Week – the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. And it’s part of what’s more broadly been proclaimed by some as Men’s Health Month.
The campaign offers a variety of men’s health “materials” – including the squeezy prostate stress ball pictured at left – if you’re into that kind of thing.
There are also brochures like the one below. The “Facts About Prostate Cancer” state that men at high risk should begin yearly screening at age 40 – all others at age 50. The “should begin (at 50)” recommendation crosses a line not supported by the US Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society, among other organizations.
The campaign also commits fear-mongering with these statistics: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*
Dr. Mehmet Oz recently had a piece in Time titled “What I Learned from My Cancer Scare” in which he became the the more humbled Mr. Mehmet Oz. As noted previously here, Dr. Oz last summer had a colonoscopy at age 50 and much to everyone’s surprise had a precancerous colon polyp. He was advised to follow-up again for a repeat test in 3 months.
As the Time magazine piece noted, he didn’t return for 9 months despite repeated reminders from his doctor.
From this experience, he essentially stumbled upon what has been challenging American medicine and primary care. How do we enable patients to do the right thing and get the screening tests done and treatments necessary to avoid premature death and maintain a high quality of life? As a highly trained professional, Dr. Oz knows the risks and benefits of not doing a preventive screening test. As a doctor, he knows all of the secret protocols and codespeak we use when calling patients or asking them to see us in the office for important matters. As a doctor, he also understood the importance of a repeat colonoscopy to ensure no more colon growths.
Yet he didn’t return for 9 months. Why? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*