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Health screenings

Authoritative medical study recommends cutting back on health screenings

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 by: Paul Louis, staff writer
Tags: health screenings, cancer prevention, health news

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(Natural News) The U.S. Preventative Task Force posted findings online in the November 17 Annals of Internal Medicine to determine the validity of various health screenings and recommend their frequency. The following five screening tests are now considered virtually useless.

PSA Tests: Most men have used this blood test to determine the protein antigen count as a staple for prostate health assurance or prostate cancer early warning. But this association is unreliable. The positive PSA tests lead to unnecessary procedures with negative side effects, and negative PSA test results are not total assurances of healthy prostates. Despite the prostate cancer rate of 20 percent, only 3 percent die from it.

DEXA: Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA) to determine bone density and bone strength. There are too many variables from individual to individual and even among the machines used. This one lacks enough uniform science.

Full-body scans: A very expensive and unreliable way to determine if anything is wrong with you. Commercial CT scans are very unreliable. CT scans should only be used by specialists to determine specific problems.

Home menopause test: This one is popular among women who had used home pregnancy tests. It measures follicle stimulating hormone or FSH in urine. The kit doesn't even do this well. Since pre-menopausal female hormones vary considerably, this makes an even efficient FSH urine test unreliable.

Home Alzheimer's test: This one wins the hokum award. It is simply a scratch and smell test. The premise is the loss of smell as a warning of imminent Alzheimer's. Olfactory inabilities with Alzheimer's occur occasionally, but it's far from being a reliable indicator. It could be simply a problem with smelling. Besides, one could sniff anything to determine olfactory capacity!

Not surprisingly, the recommendation to decrease mammograms drew the American Cancer Society's objection. Despite the Task Force's recommendation to start mammograms once every two years at age 50, the Cancer Society is sticking to its recommendation of mammograms once a year from age 40.

The Preventative Task Force has examined data that indicates there has been over diagnosis for breast cancer leading to unnecessary expensive and painful treatments. Often tumors are benign or so slow growing they don't require harsh treatment. Many health practitioners believe mammograms actually create breast cancer.

The Preventative Task Force did validate frequent colonoscopies to prevent colon cancer and pap smears for women for cervical cancer detection.

Sources for this article include:

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