May 2, 2011
How to choose medical care that you truly need: • Familiarize yourself with the evidence for and against certain screenings. You may not need that vascular check after all. Start with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's guidelines for women and for men . These agencies have weighed the recommendations from various medical groups and specialties and arrived at...
January 18, 2011 |
Osteoporosis is a disease that often goes undetected in women -- until they break a bone. Now a federal task force recommends osteoporosis screening not just for women 65 and older, as has long been the case, but also for young women who show the same risk factors as a 65-year-old white woman. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report published in the January issue of Annals of Internal Medicine says white women are used as the benchmark because they appear to be at higher risk for the disease than any other ethnic group.
November 20, 2012 |
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to test most people ages 15 to 64, whether they fall in high-risk groups or not, for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. I see only one thing wrong with this proposal: We should have started doing it years ago. Decades ago. Admittedly, it's in more recent years that medicine has learned that treatment for HIV is more successful when it starts earlier rather than later. But long before we had any effective treatments for HIV infection, it was clear that if people knew they had AIDS, they could and usually would take steps to avoid infecting others, through safer-sex measures and the like.
February 22, 2012 |
Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the U.S.; it is expected to kill more than 51,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Physicians have long assumed that removing precancerous polyps during patient colonoscopies reduces the numbers of such deaths. Now researchers have proved it. In a large, multi-decade study of more than 2,600 patients who had precancerous polyps removed during colonoscopies between 1980 and 1990, scientists at the Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center in New York and colleagues at other institutions found that removing the polyps reduced deaths from colon cancer in the group by 53%. An article detailing their results was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
November 18, 2009 |
A core tenet of the healthcare overhaul President Obama is pushing through Congress is that medical care can be improved -- and costs contained -- if the country relies more on experts to determine which procedures and treatments work best. But Monday's mammography report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force delivered a swift and stark reminder that few ideas are more explosive in healthcare. The expert panel -- which recommended that women in their 40s should no longer get annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer -- sparked an outcry from those who say that the federal government is more interested in saving money than in improving women's health, even though the panel did not consider costs in its analysis.
May 22, 2012 |
The PSA test should be abandoned as a prostate cancer screening tool, a government advisory panel has concluded after determining that the side effects from needless biopsies and treatments hurt many more men than are potentially helped by early detection of cancers. At best, one life will be saved for every 1,000 men screened over a 10-year period, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. But 100 to 120 men will have suspicious results when there is no cancer, triggering biopsies that can carry complications such as pain, fever, bleeding, infection and hospitalization.
April 23, 2011 |
This story has been corrected. See note at bottom for details. For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer , which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services , including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost. But there's a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.
June 17, 2002 |
Asking all patients who walk into offices for tests, physicals and appointments two simple questions about whether they have experienced some of the warning signs of depression can swiftly begin to identify 90% of people who suffer from major depression, health experts say. The U.S.
October 10, 2011 |
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released a draft recommendation that PSA tests no longer be used for routine screens for prostate cancer. What is PSA anyway? Prostate-specific antigen is an enzyme of a type called a protease; it cuts up other proteins. Scientists believe it helps liquefy semen, and it may help sperm find its way to an egg by digesting the mucus covering the cervix. When cancers develop in the prostate gland, levels of PSA can start to climb in the blood.
March 10, 1990 |
A routine physical checkup in the 1990s could become something quite different from what you're accustomed to. Doctors will probably be doing a lot less testing and a lot more talking about how to stay well. Most periodic physical exams should be devoted to counseling and motivating patients to adopt more healthful life styles, advises a recent report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of 20 independent physicians and health experts working under the U.S.