Health News Review
  • Jul 29 2013

    Cautions on cancer screening, overdiagnosis and overtreatment

    Several noteworthy articles in journals today. In JAMA, a breast cancer specialist, a prostate cancer specialist, and an esophogeal cancer specialist co-authored a Viewpoint article, “Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement.” Excerpt: “In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute convened a meeting to evaluate the problem of “overdiagnosis,” which occurs when tumors are detected that, if left u…

  • Jan 19 2012

    The Naked Doctor: profiling overdiagnosis and overtreatment

    We’ve long been admirers of the Croakey blog, run by Melissa Sweet in Australia. Now Croakey has a new project called The Naked Doctor. The site says: Naked Doctor aims to encourage discussion and awareness of the opportunities to do more for health by doing less. It is a compilation of articles, books and other works that highlight overdiagnosis and overtreatment. It is a project of Dr Justin Coleman, a GP who works in Aboriginal and Torr…

  • Oct 4 2012

    BMJ special reports on overtreatment

    BMJ editor Fiona Godlee published an editor’s note, “Overtreatment, over here,” kicking off a discussion in her journal.   She begins: “How much of what we offer to patients is unnecessary? Worse still, how much harm do we do to individuals and society through overtreatment? In the 30 years since Ivan Illich wrote his seminal and, at the time, shocking book Medical Nemesis, the idea that medicine can do clinical and socie…

  • Jul 26 2010

    New data raising concerns over overdiagnosis & overtreatment of prostate cancer

    … treatment rates for these men were comparable to those of men with PSA scores between 4.0 and 20.0 ng/mL. The researchers wrote: “The finding that men in low-risk groups were treated intensively raises the concern of overtreatment, especially among older patients.” It’s interesting to now have some idea of how many men get conservative treatment – about 25 percent – receiving neither radical prostatectomy nor r…

  • Apr 1 2011

    New prostate CA screening study: “the risk for overdetection and overtreatment is considerable”

    …d while screening and treating men with detected tumours might reduce deaths specifically from prostate cancer by up to a third (at best), this would be at considerable risk of worrying overdetection and unpleasant or harmful overtreatment. Indeed, a previous trial found that to prevent one death from prostate cancer, 1,410 men would need to be screened and 48 treated. The authors believe that men should be fully informed about the potential haza…

  • Jun 21 2010

    AP overtreatment series leads to the ER

    The Associated Press looks at fears of lawsuits leading to overtesting in the latest of its series. Excerpt: “Fast decisions on life-and-death cases are the bread and butter of hospital emergency rooms. Nowhere do doctors face greater pressures to overtest and overtreat.” The AP now offers a multimedia interactive that allows you to scroll over body parts that have become key foci of overtesting and overtreatment. Continued congrat…

  • Feb 16 2012

    Key quotes from Reuters story on overtreatment

    Nothing new, just good perspective in a Reuters piece, “Stemming the tide of overtreatment in U.S. healthcare.” And some great quotes.  Examples: “I don’t trust professional societies to (set clinical guidelines) because that’s how they make money – by doing tests and procedures,” said MIT healthcare economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber; “When hospitals buy robots they also use them as a marketing tool…

  • Jun 8 2010

    Part 2 in AP series on overtreatment: back pain

    AP’s six-part series on overtreatment in U.S. health care turns to back pain and spine surgery with a great lead line, “Why did they cut on you?” It was a question a spine surgeon asked a man who came to him still in severe pain after an earlier back operation. Except: “Even though only a fraction of people with back pain are good candidates for surgery, complicated spine operations are on the rise. So is the hunt for an…

  • Apr 10 2012

    Overview wraps on overtesting, overtreatment, and undercooked nutrition news

    The Naked Doctor, aka Justin Coleman, has a mega-wrap of recent news on excessive testing and treatment on the Croakey blog.   And on the Columbia Journalism Review blog, “The Observatory,” Curtis Brainard offers a wrap view of “Nutrition Coverage Under Fire: From red meat to white rice, not enough skepticism of observational studies.“  His lead: “The incessant coverage of nutritional studies that make tenuous …

  • Mar 12 2010

    A week of news on overtesting, overtreatment, need for informed patients

    I was struck by the recurring themes in this week’s health news and planned to blog about it today. But Lindsey Tanner of AP beat me to it with her story, “Experts say US doctors overtesting, overtreating.” She begins: “Too much cancer screening, too many heart tests, too many cesarean sections. A spate of recent reports suggest that too many Americans – maybe even President Barack Obama – are being overtre…




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