Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here’s Why
Getting tested to detect cancer early is one of the best ways to stay healthy—or is it? In this lively, carefully researched book, a nationally recognized expert on early cancer detection challenges one of medicine's most widely accepted beliefs: that the best defense against cancer is to always try to catch it early. Read this book and you will think twice about common cancer screening tests such as total body scans, mammograms, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.
Combining patient stories and solid data on common cancers, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch makes the case that testing healthy people for cancer is really a double-edged sword: while these tests may help, they often have surprisingly little effect and are sometimes even harmful. Bringing together a body of little-known medical research in an engaging and accessible style, he discusses in detail the pitfalls of screening tests, showing how they can miss some cancers, how they can lead to invasive, unnecessary treatments, and how they can distract doctors from other important issues. Welch's conclusions are powerful, counterintuitive, and disturbing: the early detection of cancer does not always save lives, it can be hard to know who really has early cancer, and there are some cancers better left undiscovered.
Should I Be Tested for Cancer? is the only book to clearly and simply lay out the pros and cons of cancer testing for the general public. It is indispensable reading for the millions of Americans who repeatedly face screening tests and who want to make better-informed decisions about their own health care.
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You may have a cancer scare and face an endless cycle of testing
You may receive unnecessary treatment
You may find a cancer you would rather not know about
Your pathologist may say its cancer while others say its not
Your doctor may get distracted from other issues that are more important to you
BECOMING A BETTEREDUCATED CONSUMER
Understand the culture of medicine and why we are pushed to test
Understand the statistics of cancer and why fiveyear survival is the worlds most misleading number
Understand the limits to research even genetic research and why it is hard to be sure there really are benefits to screening
Develop a strategy that works for you
Summary of cancers discussed in this book
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abnormal aggressive answer Autopsy benefit better biopsy breast cancer breast cancer death Canadian cancer diagnosis cancer mortality cancer testing CAT scan cause symptoms cervical cancer chance of dying chapter chest X-ray clinical breast exam colon cancer colonoscopy control group DCIS death rate decision disease doctors Ductal early detection effect examined expect fact false positive rate fecal occult blood five-year survival rate gene genetic testing HIP study increase invasive breast cancer involves kidney cancer less look for cancer lung cancer mammograms mammography medicine melanoma microscope missed National Cancer Institute neuroblastoma never normal number of deaths occult blood testing Pap smear pathologists patients percent physicians problems prostate cancer PSA testing pseudodisease question radiologist randomized trial renal cell carcinoma result screening test simply small cancers specimens statistics strategy surgery tested for cancer thing tients tissue treated treatment typical ultrasound