Many METARs are of an elderly vintage. All of us want to avoid dying of detectable diseases but we also want to avoid the potential harms of screening. These harms include additional testing and possibly damaging surgery to treat a slow-growing cancer that wouldn’t have caused death if left alone.
**Do Cancer Centers Push Too Many Tests?**
**Studies found that centers provided incomplete or unbalanced information, which could lead to unnecessary screenings and health complications in older adults.**
**By Paula Span, The New York Times, July 17, 2022**
**Screening refers to tests for patients with no symptoms or evidence of disease, including prostate-specific antigen tests, mammograms, colonoscopies and CT scans....The harms of screening occur early. But the benefits of screening can accrue years later; older patients with other health problems may not live long enough to experience them....**
**Guidelines from both the Preventive Services Task Force and the American Urological Association state that men over 70 should not be routinely screened for prostate cancer, because, according to the Task Force guidelines, “the potential benefits do not outweigh the expected harms.” ...**
**The Preventive Services Task Force’s 2016 guidelines, which are currently being updated, recommend screening mammograms every other year for women aged 50 to 74; it found insufficient evidence of benefit and harms for those 75 and older....**
**Lung cancer screening is recommended only for those at high risk because of smoking history and older age...** [end quote]
ePrognosis is a doctor-oriented web site that has a section on screening.
Many people don’t like to discuss their life expectancy so it might be hard for doctors to say, “This cancer might kill you in 10 years but you probably won’t live that long anyway.”
And cancer centers make a lot of money from screening, tests and treatment.
This topic has Macro significance because millions of people and billions of dollars are affected.