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American Cancer Society has concerns about health screenings--what do you think?

By Expert HERWriter October 23, 2009 - 11:16pm
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Hello everyone!

I just read this article that talks about how the American Cancer Society is now suggesting that some health screenings for cancer may come with a risk of overtreating small cancers while missing other more deadly forms of cancer.

To say that I have mixed feelings about this article is the understatement of the year. While I'm sure that some people do wonder about all of the chemo, surgery, and/or radiation they had for cancers that might not have turned out to be what others thought it was, it still seems a bit unsettling to me that this key organization would speak out about cancer testing.

It sounds like the same American Cancer Society that has suggested for years that we get certain tests is now back pedaling and saying some of the tests aren't that great or needed after all. I guess my concern is that this story might encourage people who are squeamish about getting tested to skip it, and it might increase the risk of not catching a cancer until it is too late.

Here is the link to the article:


What are your thoughts on this story? Do you agree with what the article says? Do you know someone who ended up having unnecessary treatments for cancer? Or do you think this organization has it all wrong?

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HERWriter Guide

Thanks for posting this Michelle!

I kept changing my mind as I read through the article!

I do think it's a good thing that the ACS is addressing the changing attitudes toward cancer screenings - the fact that technology keeps changing and science is continually explored means that testing guidelines will also change to keep up with them. It makes sense. As the science and technology changes, so will we.

However, it is a concern that this about-face may cause people to have a laissez-faire attitude towards cancer. "If I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna get it" and people may avoid screenings that may otherwise save their lives, if they feel like they won't do much good and the small amount of radiation in testing like mammograms may be worse.

I don't necessarily find it concerning when huge organizations like the ACS change their tune. It's often vital that recommendations change, as more knowledge is learned. And I'd rather an admittance of this, rather than cover things up (and when I say "admit" I don't mean prior recommendations were wrong, they were simply going with what they knew at the time, and these organizations do not reevaluate their stance for untoward reasons, they do it because they increase their information).

But with this new stance, may come a lax attitude from some people, unfortunately. And some of us will roll our eyes at yet another study that says the opposite of the study before.

But what we all need to continue to do is adopt a preventative care attitude toward healthcare (a good diet, exercise, a healthy lifestyle, research and education, self-checks and regular checkups) . This is what will not (and should not) ever change.

October 24, 2009 - 6:09am
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