Health News Review
  • Feb 25 2014

    Thyroid cancer: “not an epidemic of disease but an epidemic of diagnosis”

    A paper in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, “Current Thyroid Cancer Trends in the United States,” addresses overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer.  The authors report a tripling of incidence over the past 40 years, but a stable death rate.  The authors write that nearly all of the increase was in less aggressive [...]

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  • Feb 5 2014

    When your doctor recommends a test: another “Less is More” example

    A thoughtful perspective piece in JAMA Internal Medicine‘s “Less is More” series is entitled, “A Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Scan:  Need to Know vs. Nice to Know.” The DXA scan is a test looking for signs of osteoporosis. The piece is written by a woman physician who had turned 50 and was now facing a recommendation [...]

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  • Jan 10 2014

    Mr. Balls, Senhor Testiculo, and a man named Cox

    In all the years I’ve written about promotions for various screening tests, I’ve seen some oddities. A porn star and the “Boob Bus Nurse Brigade” promoting mammography A fun-filled giant walk-through colon to promote colorectal cancer screening But those might pale in comparison with the various hairy testicle creatures roaming various regions of the earth. [...]

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  • Jan 8 2014

    “Our screening sacred cows”

    On The Guardian’s website in the UK, Dr. Margaret McCartney makes a clear, compelling case for balance in public information about screening in a piece entitled, “Patients deserve the truth: health screening can do more harm than good.” And she charges that the British National Health Service “fails to inform patients that health screening often [...]

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  • Jan 6 2014

    NBC vastly exaggerates the potential benefits of lung cancer screening

    The US Preventive Services Task Force recently released a new recommendation on screening for lung cancer. The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults ages 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should [...]

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  • Dec 10 2013

    The potential harms of screening – seen this time in lung cancer screening

    It is still a difficult concept for many people to grasp:  how can there be harms from screening for cancer? Maybe the study published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, “Overdiagnosis in Low-Dose Computed Tomography Screening for Lung Cancer,” will make some of the potential harms a little more clear. The analysis shows that nearly [...]

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  • Dec 4 2013

    Guys Night Out: big-screen football, free sandwiches and prostate screenings

    KSBW-TV in Monterey found it newsworthy to copy a local hospital’s news release and to promote its “Guys Night Out” prostate screening event on the night the San Francisco 49ers played the Washington Redskins. The news release from the hospital’s marketing department says “The event is open to men 45-70 who have not been diagnosed [...]

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  • Nov 23 2013

    My interview on CBC Radio regarding network TV prostate/breast CA screenings

    The CBC Radio program, “White Coat, Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman,” asked me to join them this week to discuss some issues surrounding journalists promoting cancer screening tests on network television. Out of a 30 minute program, the segment with my interview appears between 10:22 and 20:30.  Note:  The audio begins automatically.  I don’t [...]

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  • Nov 12 2013

    There’s another side to the Amy Robach breast cancer story

    First, I sincerely wish ABC’s Amy Robach good health and good outcomes after she chose to have a mammogram on the air and, after it showed that she had cancer, further chose to have bilateral mastectomy surgery. These are difficult choices and difficult times for her. But almost every single one of the hundreds of [...]

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  • Nov 10 2013

    NBC races the clock in a race to the bottom with anchormen & prostate cancer screening promotion

    It was not the peacock’s finest hour. Or even their finest 34 seconds. Last week, NBC Today show anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker had digital rectal exams (out of view, behind closed doors) on live TV.  Lauer and the network announced that “The live event is part of No-Shave November, TODAY’s initiative to raise [...]

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