Prostate Cancer Screening Controversy Continues


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The debate continues over Prostate Cancer Screening tests and the new opinion is that screening with the PSA ( prostate specific antigen) may prevent 17,000 advanced cases yearly.

The problem with screening is how to proceed going forward if cancer is detected.

Watchful waiting or invasive treatments which may cause serious side effects are often the choice.

Many times the cancer is slow growing and would never had been detected as there are often no symptoms.

Last year, an influential organization called the U.S. Services Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against prostate cancer screening altogether, saying its harms outweigh its benefits.

Recent studies on the topic have also had conflicting results, with some suggesting prostate cancer screening saves lives, and others finding no benefit.

The researchers say their new findings should be taken into consideration when creating PSA screening recommendations.

“There are trade-offs associated with the PSA test, and many factors influence the disease outcome,” said study researcher Dr. Edward Messing, chairman of urology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “And yet our data are very clear: not doing the PSA test will result in many men presenting with far more advanced prostate cancer.”

Should All Kids Be Screened For Cholesterol?

Should your child’s annual physical include a cholesterol screening?

And, if so, should the results warrant, should he be put on statins?

This is the debate amount physicians.

There is worry that pharmaceutical companies may have too much sway over doctors who may be influenced by money to push cholesterol lowering drugs on children.

However, a growing obesity rate would suggest that high cholesterol and the danger of developing heart disease is a real possibility.

The guidelines are endorsed by the Academy of Pediatrics, which publishes the journal that carried the critical commentary Monday. The panel recommends that all U.S. children should get blood tests for high cholesterol as early as age 9 and that testing should begin much earlier for kids at risk of future heart disease, including those with diabetes or a family history of heart problems. Treatment should generally begin with lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, the guidelines say.

Cholesterol drugs would be recommended for some kids, but probably less than 1 percent of those tested. But the advice says those drugs, including statins, shouldn’t be used at all in children younger than 10 unless they have severe problems.

The guidelines aim to help prevent and treat conditions in children that put them at risk for later heart-related problems. At least 10 percent of U.S. children have unhealthy cholesterol levels and one-third are overweight or obese.

How about preventing obesity and not taking the risk of side effects from unnecessary drugs?

Millions Of American Women Lack Sufficient Health Care Coverage

Insured American women are more likely to go without needed healthcare because of the cost and difficulty paying medical bills.

“We are on the cusp of a remarkable feat: providing comprehensive, affordable health insurance to almost all American women,” Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, explained. “It is crucial that state and federal policy makers and other key stakeholders actively work together to implement the reform law and take full advantage of all the benefits the Affordable Care Act offers so that all American families are able to benefit from the law’s potential.”

Women of childbearing age are at particular risk and often cannot afford the high out of pocket cost of health care even when they are insured.

Lower wages, higher premiums and time away from work to raise families puts women at unique risk in comparison to men.

House Votes To Repeal President Obama’s Health Care Law

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Panal Suggests Screening Patients For Obesity

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has suggested that patients be screened for obesity by physicians.

The panel has suggested measuring the BMI ( Body Mass Index ) of adult patients.

A BMI of 30 or more would indicate that a patient is obese while a BMI of 25 or less is normal.

For patients whose BMI is 30 or higher, the task force advises physicians to refer them to weight-loss programs that use multicomponent behavioral interventions — in other words, those that combine nutritional counseling with exercise and support groups. In reviewing current studies on such programs, the government panel found that on average, they helped participants lose up to 11 lbs. over a year, or 4% of their starting weight. Even such seemingly modest reductions in initial weight can significantly improve health for obese people.

Overall, the task force found that the best weight-loss programs include 12 to 26 sessions of behavioral counseling during the first year; help patients self-monitor their eating and exercise, using food diaries or a pedometer, for instance; focus on setting realistic weight-loss goals; and help patients understand what may be preventing them from meeting those goals.

While it is projected that by 2030 forty percent of American adults will be overweight or obese, doctors are not trained to counsel patients on matters of nutrition or weight management.

Doctors who are struggling with weight issues of their own have even greater difficulty addressing weight with their patients.

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