Skip to comments.Annual health screening: does it do more harm than good?
Posted on 02/10/2013 11:44:51 PM PST by neverdem
Do you have an annual health check? Plenty of people do. Health screening general checks on people who dont have any symptoms is widely promoted by private doctors and health insurance companies and popular. Successful executives, who are used to being in control, understandably think of their health as another area where, if they take prudent precautions, they can minimise risks.
And they are not suggesting that doctors shouldnt screen or test patients when they suspect something is going on. They approve of targeted interventions for specific conditions.
More worrying, though, is the fact that there are the many possible undesirable effects of general checks. Stephanie Thompson and Marcello Tonelli of the Cochrane Library note that the potential for harm is likely to exceed the potential for benefit when screening is implemented in a population where the overall risk of an unfavorable outcome is low. You may get over-diagnosis, where the tests pick up a disease that, if it hadnt been detected, would not have affected the quality or length of your life. Abnormal test results can also lead to the need for more tests, which means more risk, worry, lost income due to work absences, problems getting health insurance, and potentially increased healthcare costs.
The health checks studied werent completely useless. Some of them picked up cases of high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels...
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk ...
“The only people who unquestionably benefit from general screening programmes are private doctors and health insurance companies.”
I imagine these bothersome annual physicals put a huge burden on the UK’s healthcare system. PLUS - having to treat all the folks that turn up sick.
I read a report from some committee in London. The doctors were outraged that it took almost a year to get an appointment to take a hearing EXAM in the smaller, far-flung counties. They argued that it should be closer to the 6-week wait they have in London.
For a frikkin’ hearing EXAM!
Reminds me though. I’m a three years late for my annual exam. But I really was thinking earlier today to call tomorrow to set one up. Might be my last chance to get in within the week before Obamacare really kicks in.
I see my doctor 4 times a year and let him direct what I need and I request those things I’m worried about.
Wait and No are evil, vile words right there with late.
I know I'm on borrowed time, can't do a thing about it, I will be damned if I'm going to spend all my time being poked, prodded and tested. I don't make myself miserable sweating it, not about to start now.
I go when something is broken, piercing my body or I’m sick. Other than that criteria, that’s it.
I’m 54. Over the past decade, I’ve been to the doctor on six occasions....period. Like you....if it’s not broke, don’t waste time or money.
If you want to stay healthy, stay away from the doctor.
Heart disease is cheaper than cancer. Upon occasion, I go out and purchase my own tests from a third party.
So you have them now saying that early detection and prevention are a failure?
Without regular screening, how will anyone know that they have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels? Wait until they have a stroke or a heart attack?
In the US we just need to wait a few years for the health care system to collapse under the weight of Obamacare's "free stuff" before they throw in the towel, too!
There was an article, I think it was in the New England Journal of Medicine, that concluded the economic costs of almost all screenings outweighed the costs of treating the subsequent disease. The costs of the screening and false positives was greater than the treatment of the disease. The economic benefit for screening was a benefit to the individual in which the disease was detected but an economic loss for the society as a whole. One exception was the early detection of diabetes.
The death panels approve of delayed checkups.
Disapproving tests, ensures no diagnosis or treatment.
Great way to save money!
This is Obama’s solution to Medicare and Social Security deficits.
This was written by The White House, wasn’t it?
You’re absolutely correct.
Every year cut off the life expectancy is a HUGE positive impact for SocSec and Medicare.
But you still get to vote, dead or alive. Win win for the libs.
I see him twice per year. Two years ago he caught my prostate cancer at such an early stage that we were able to destroy it with very little after effect.
Annual checkup saved my life.
Unless you have a complaint, the chances of routine physical exams helping people avoid morbidity and increasing longevity are relatively small. This opinion about the value of routine physical exams has nothing to do with Obamacare. It has been the opinion of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force since August 2005 at the least.
It you have a complaint, then that's different. Don't wait for a routine exam to address it.
But don't be surprised with questions that are offensive to many conservatives with respect to a particular amendment in the Bill of Rights during routine exams, unless you live in Florida.
Docs in Florida are challenging a recent law which prevents them from asking certain questions unless the patients sound like a threat to themselves or others, IIRC.
Annual checkup saved my life.
Most men with prostate cancer die of something else. Unless you have a family history of lethal prostate cancer or a pathology report that the biopsy had aggressive features, most urologists will recommend what's called watchful waiting.
After my diagnosis I got three opinions from 3 separate physicians; one Family Practice, one Urologist, and one Oncologist. None suggested watchful waiting. Opted for using proton radiation, 44 sessions, killed the tumor, everything now normal.