Something doesn’t smell right about the announcement that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force cancelled its November meeting – a meeting at which a new vote was to be taken on prostate cancer screening recommendations. I’ve been assured by some who are very close to the process that there’s nothing fishy – that it was just a matter of scheduling. But it’s been suggested to me by others who are close to the process that scheduling was not the issue – and that there is, indeed, reason for suspicion.
I’m slow to conjure up goblins or boogeymen – even at this time of year. But I inherited some fairly strong (and often frightfully accurate) intuition from my 88-year old Irish mother, and my antennae are up on this one.
Katherine Hobson broke the ice on the issue on her Wall Street Journal Health blog today. Excerpts:
“As you may remember, it was also November that the USPSTF published its updated recommendations for breast-cancer screening, which quickly got caught up in the political maelstrom surrounding health-care-overhaul. The panel wasn’t prepared for the controversy created by its recommendation that women aged 40-49 who are at average risk of breast cancer should discuss the benefits and risks of screening with a physician rather than getting it as a matter of course.
(The task force chairman) had no comment on whether the timing of the November meeting — overlapping with Election Day — played any role at all in its cancellation, though the group’s decision wouldn’t have been publicized for a while in any case.”
Thanks to Hobson for breaking this story.