“If there is a test but there’s problems with it, I often go over this with a patient and how to decide if it’s necessary.”
Add mammography to the list of cancer screenings where evidence has challenged “best practices.”
Recently Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN reported in EveryDay Health that while early cancer detection can save lives, recent studies raise new doubts about the benefits of screening without considering the risks as well.
“… unless we change our current practices, 3 percent to 5 percent of all future cancers may result from exposure to medical imaging.”
CT, MRI, ultrasound, nuclear scan, PET scan – why not? Just to make sure.
Recently an article in the New York Times noted: “ DESPITE great strides in prevention and treatment, cancer rates remain stubbornly high and may soon surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. Increasingly, we and many other experts believe that an important culprit may be our own medical practices: Of course, early diagnosis thanks to medical imaging can be lifesaving. But there is distressingly little evidence of better health outcomes associated with the current high rate of scans. There is, however, evidence of its harms.”
Tony-nominated actress Valisia LeKae used her voice to sing hit songs from the 1960s, recently starring as Diana Ross in “Motown: The Musical” on Broadway. Now, two months after receiving a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and stepping down from her leading role to receive treatment at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Ms. LeKae is using her voice to speak about the importance of early cancer detection.
Ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous and rapidly progressive disease of low prevalence and poor survival. In the United States the number of deaths attributed to ovarian cancer approximates that of all other gynecologic malignancies combined. Unfortunately, the majority (75%) of women diagnosed with ovarian carcinoma continue to have advanced stage disease (Stage III/ IV), with widespread metastases throughout the peritoneal cavity, lymph nodes, liver or lungs. Presently less than 20% of women with ovarian cancers are detected when the cancer is still confined to the ovary (Stage I).