Cancer is the worst. And, maybe thanks to Movember and pink consumer goods, we're all extremely aware. Too aware. Because we've gotten it drilled into our heads to always get tested, patients are ignoring the risks of unnecessary cancer screenings, says the New York Times. Low-risk patients often get false positives, leading to dangerous and wasteful misapplications of radiation and chemotherapy.
Mammograms: Good, mostly. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Whose fault is it? Everyone's. Doctors are afraid to get sued for missing a cancer diagnosis. The public are aware of cancer risks but not treatment risks. And, says the Times, insurance usually pays for the test, giving little personal incentive to skip it.
Screenings are obviously important, and low-risk patients do get cancer. But before you get tested, slow down and talk to your doctor about the risks and trade-offs.