People are living longer than ever before and it can be credited that advances in routine testing and examinations are the positive causes. However, routine testing using radiation or invasive procedures plus the practice of prescribing unnecessary medications can actually cause more harm than good.
One myth is the need for routine cancer-screening tests. The most popular repeat tests for cancer include beast mammograms and prostate screening. It is highly necessary to self-check for abnormalities or lumps on your breast, but there are some physicians and patients who insist on having a yearly mammogram or screening test to rule out breast cancer. Studies have proven that up to one-half of healthy and fit women will have false-positive results for breast cancer after many years of yearly mammogram tests.
If you receive a false-positive you may be subjected to more detailed and somewhat dangerous imaging scans and there are those who will be prescribed to undergo a biopsy. The majority of testing after a false-positive indicates no problems found. Yet the anxiety and stressed caused by the false-positive does have lasting effects. In a nutshell, the more multiple tests for different types of cancers you undertake, the greater your danger of receiving a false-positive result which then results in more useless tests and exploratory surgeries. There are new recommendations on mammogram testing that suggest every other year is sufficient for women over fifty.
In 1986 the FDA approved PSA testing or testing for prostate cancer. Originally approved to monitor the progression so of known prostate cancer patients, it is now used as a regular part of a yearly examination. This invasive test can find cancers, but inflammation and enlargement of the prostate can cause elevated PSA levels. The result has often been unnecessary surgeries and long recovery times.
Medical care is wonderful, but you really can have too much of a good thing. Take the use of modern day antibiotics. It has been found that ear infections in children can resolve themselves within a few days; simple pain medication may be all that is needed. However the routine use of antibiotics to treat ear infections can actually cause chronic ear infections and resistance to life saving antibiotics.
These few examples of over testing and medicating actually cause more health issues than letting the condition resolve itself. Of course, there are always exceptions and if one life is saved or ear infection treated it can be argued that these “myths” are just more scare tactics. Physicians however are now stressing that exercise, proper nutrition, yearly non-invasive medical exams and knowledge about your own body can help to lower raising health care costs and prevent unnecessary procedures and medicating.