ANOTHER INSTANCE OF DIAGNOSTIC OVERLOAD
Overdiagnosis is an expected part of any screening program..... Part of a recent statement by the American College of Radiology (ACR)
Numerous diagnostic tests, particularly those involving ADVANCED DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING, produce false positive results. This is one reason that the old "ANNUAL PHYSICAL" has gone the way of the typewriter and the dodo bird -- way too many false positives ("False Positives" are tests that show you have something wrong with you, when, in fact, you do not). The latest of these studies involves CANCER ---- most particularity Lung Cancer.
A recent study at Duke University Medical Center showed that nearly 1 in 5 cases of Lung Cancer, the CT Scan picked up slow-growing tumors that would not have affected the patient in their lifetime. When questioned about this rate of what is known is the business as "overdiagnosis", the spokespersons for various physicians groups said that these rates were about what they would expect. In other words, this is a common problem.
The Duke Study, published in the most recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that, "These overdiagnosis cases represent an important potential harm of screening because they incur additional cost, anxiety, and morbidity associated with cancer treatment". Good idea to be aware of this information if you are ever diagnosed with cancer or are a smoker. By the way, smokers in the "High Risk" category are being advised to have an annual CT.