A new study in the journal Frontiers in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention found that the number of Americans seeking cancer screening has declined over the past decade. This includes such tests as mammograms for breast cancer, Pap tests for cervical cancer, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy for colon and rectal cancers, and prostate-specific antigen blood tests for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the authors didn’t realize how important a factor confusion was and how it has tainted their study. The constant moving targets of both the validity and the timing of such screenings is driving everyone up a wall. Mammogram timing may change. Pap tests are being delayed. PSA testing is still problematic. Add to this a confused and indifferent public and you are going to get lower numbers of them participating. How do we fix this? Easy. Penalize the doctors if their patients aren’t screened on time. Coming to a primary care office near you!
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