Malpractice Risk: The Dangers of False Positives
$4 billion for "mammograms and breast cancer over diagnoses alone." This is a serious problem I have addressed here before. "Mammograms are being over interpreted as suspicious for breast cancer approximately 11% of the time, the report found, affecting nearly 3.2 million patients per year."
Not only that but there are other more serious consequences then a prematurely lightened wallet. "The discovery of a false positive is usually good news. The patient doesn't have a dread disease or malignancy. But false positives have also led to serious consequences, such as needless amputations, hysterectomies, and other painful procedures, plus emotional trauma and medical regimens that can permanently affect patients' lives."
You know all that talk about cancer screening? Multimodal cancer screening nearly assures you of a good dollop of overdiagnosis. "An earlier study by the National Institutes of Health reviewed the records of 68,436 patients, aged 55-74 years, who participated in a clinical trial of prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening. The goal was to determine the cumulative risk of a false positive and the resulting risk of a diagnostic procedure.
The conclusion was startling. "For an individual in a multimodal cancer screening trial, the risk of a false-positive finding is about 50% or greater by the 14th test. ... The cumulative risk after 14 tests of undergoing an invasive diagnostic procedure prompted by a false-positive test is 28.5% (CI, 27.8%-29.3%) for men and 22.1% (95% CI, 21.4%-22.7%) for women.'"
You will simply get to help put the physicians kids through college, and then live with whatever the consequences, all without actual disease.
There are three more pages of harrowing reading, and a minor exposé on the awfulness of the attendant legal system.
You should read the whole thing, it could save your life, or a love one's.