From Consumer Reports: "Medical Screening Tests You Do and Don't Need"

Dec 12, 2018

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Teresa Carr, a journalist who wrote the cover story for the January 2019 issue of Consumer Reports. As this in-depth article (titled "Medical Screening Tests You Do and Don't Need") notes near the outset: "Today, as we've learned more about how to detect disease early, there are scores of blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans to screen for conditions like cancer and low bone density. And an increasing number are now offered direct-to-consumer, leaving you to pick -- and pay for -- screenings. The surge of interest in testing is propelled by 'a trend toward people being proactive about taking better care of themselves,' says Alex Krist, M.D., a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.... As just one example, screenings done at the right age and frequency can cut the risk of colorectal cancer death by as much as half, according to the American Cancer Society. That blood pressure check you get during a routine physical? If it reveals hypertension and you get it treated, you might reduce your heart attack and stroke risk by more than 20 percent. The trouble is, too few people are getting the right tests.... Many other people are screened too frequently, at the wrong age, or with tests that aren't very accurate."