Last week, the Cleveland Clinic sent out the following “News Tips”:
“Top 5 Medical Tests for 2012
As we head into 2012, healthy New Year’s resolutions will abound. People will pledge to work out more, eat healthy foods and finally go to see their doctor for a physical.
Cleveland Clinic experts note that there are a few tests that everyone should have during their yearly physical. For men, the following tests are recommended by many physicians:”
Included in the list were:
Then the Cleveland Clinic news tips goes on to say:
“Women do not have to have the PSA test, but they should have a routine breast exam and pap smear.”
But, by comparison, the USPSTF states that “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of clinical breast examination beyond screening mammography in women 40 years or older” and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center states that clinical breast exam “adds little to mammography in reducing breast cancer deaths.”
Even the opening overall premise of the “News Tips” – that everyone should have a yearly physical – is a simplistic one-size-fits-all premise that is not universally endorsed.
We’re going to see a lot of these “what to do in the New Year” health tips columns. We hope more of them are more evidence-based than this one was. And we hope that journalists don’t act on these news tips without doing their own homework on the state of the evidence.