Note: Comments of readers are their own and do not reflect the feelings of Bob Lonsberry or lonsberry.com.
52 Responses to:
GOV'T WRONG ON CANCER SCREENING
# 1. 5/23/12 7:30 AM by GEORGE (THE OTHER ONE) - GANANOQUE ONTARIO CANADA
"The government is not my doctor, and the government does not make my health decisions."
Well at least now that you have some time on your hands since you are not getting tested anymore, you can see a shrink as you are clearly delusional. Welcome to the kind of health care that 'hope and change' promised. Welcome to Canadian health care. Now get in line and shut up.
# 2. 5/23/12 7:49 AM by hc
Just go to the airport for your screenings. Let the TSA can do your PSA...
# 3. 5/23/12 7:55 AM by Andy - Philadelphia, PA
You don't think that private health insurance companies don't already run similar sorts of studies and statistics in order to determine who they're going to cover, what services they're going to cover, etc. so they can still make a profit? Don't be so naive. A private health insurer has the power to limit what sort of healthcare you get by simply not offering coverage for what you want to do, forcing you to pay out of pocket (if you can afford it, and most cannot). Those insurance companies make those types of decisions for us all of the time. Get with program: Our system of private health insurance is broken and provides worse outcomes for people than the healthcare systems of the rest of the modern Western world.
# 4. 5/23/12 8:04 AM by B Smith - Syracuse New York
Recommendations change because science and knowledge changes. We already spend far more of our GDP on health care than any country on earth and the statistics clearly show we don't get the most value either in disease prevention, cures or life spans. Too much testing have health costs too and not just money, but in excessive exposure to X-rays. I remember the days as a kid in the early 1950s you would stick your foot in an X-ray machine and look at how your shoes kit. in the local shoe store. From what we know now that was totally stupid, but we didn't know better then. Studies over many years change the insight into what tests are good and how often they are needed.
I may not like everything government does, but these guidelines are generally not cooked up just to save money, but to provide good health care. If you have certain cancers in your gene pool, then inform your physician and make allowances.
# 5. 5/23/12 8:05 AM by Rick G - Spencerport, NY
I've been shelling out close to $11,000 a year for a long time for health insurance. If my wife or I need a few tests once in while, I think they're paid for. It's the deadbeats who take my money to use the emergency department as their personal physician that are bleeding the system. As usual, the government can't see the forest for the trees.
# 6. 5/23/12 8:05 AM by B Smith
Should say shoes "fit" , sorry for the error.
# 7. 5/23/12 8:14 AM by Boob-Cam
PSA is the bare minimum for testing/screening.
What the gov't is saying is they don't want docs looking for trouble for fear they will find it.
Gov't should pick other ways to balance the budget. Supposedly they are getting a good return on their traffic light cams. But if you look more closely, the morons are buying a system that costs $160,000 each when a good system could cost less than half that. And if the returns are so great, why don't the cam companies supply the systems based on spec and work for a cut. A better deal than gov't spending $1.6 million up front.
And now for my latest: The digital butt-cam. Implanted to constantly monitor for polyps. Then we can introduce the "good behavior" cam for your kids. And of course the boob-cam! Volunteers manning the monitoring centers would even probably PAY to work there.
# 8. 5/23/12 8:25 AM by Mike - Honeoye Falls
A little over a year ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. They found just a tiny spot during a screening. We had very tough surgeries, and a horrible year. Because of this early screening, they caught it before she had to have Kemo or radiation. The government is being pressured by insurance companies so they can save money. They are both going to kill people in the name of profits.
# 9. 5/23/12 8:32 AM by Diane - Utah
I totally agree with you. What bothers me, is the Congress, Senate and top government officials will have a different insurance program than they want to give the rest of us. I did read a funny cartoon, if you need Mammogram book a flight. Mention Al Queda and they will throw in a colonoscopy.
# 10. 5/23/12 8:33 AM
contraceptives must be free. cancer screening should be reduced. looks like a pattern.
# 11. 5/23/12 8:34 AM
My o my o my, how we do change attitudes when other issues are at hand.
You wrote, "Maybe we will remember that in our society, we value all people and we value all life. And if a thousand false positives save one life, we consider that worthwhile, because we know how precious that life is to that person and her loved ones."
Except if it is the death penalty. Then you are all for "screw it, kill the SOB and stop fretting that the rat may be an innocent victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. Some innocents may die, but the death penalty is what's important, not lives".
Also, you just can't stop crapping on your government and making it sound like the monster under the bed. When did you get such a deplorable opinion of our government?
I guarrantee you, your beloved capitalist big biz buddies were doing what you call so horrible many, many years ago. They'll push you out of a hospital so fast it will make your head spin. In fact, in government run hospitals you get to stay in hospital until you are fixed up not shoved out the door half better like big biz makes you do under private healthcare.
# 12. 5/23/12 8:45 AM by Poplar Beach
Mixed emotions here Bob. I am self employed, I have a very high deductible policy and a health savings account that I use to pay for most of my procedures and medications.
I end up saving a great deal of money this way, (my very good policy costs $218 per month instead of over $600) and I contribute the max of $4050 per year to my tax free health savings account. Essential I am self insured for the first $5000 per year and then covered 100% after that.
When I have a physical, I dictate many of the tests and a PSA test is always included, because I do my homework.
I also decide when to have a colonoscopy an eye test, and other tests and I mostly do follow the doctors recommendations.
But, because I have skin in the game, I may question the doctor, and do a bit of research before I agree to certain tests and how often I should get them.
Most government employees, including teachers and many company folks have 100% coverage with no deductible, they have zero skin in the game, and will test and gets zapped at the drop of a hat. So there must be some guidelines, or health insurance cost will continue to skyrocket.
The amazing thing is that this all knowing all seeing government says birth control and abortions must be covered, while at the same time these tests and even hearing aids are not.
Trust this government, no way, but something must be done to make sure what tests and procedures are necessary and how often they should be done!
# 13. 5/23/12 9:00 AM by Dan - Wayland, NY
In response to #3, Andy, yes...maybe the private health care companies are trying to be profitable because if they run out of money they can't simply print more or borrow more from China. But do you really think the government can do it better? Since when has the government done anything better than private industry? Government should be as limited as possible because government, by its nature, is inefficient. BTW, I and everyone I know has never had a problem getting coverage for any medical condition through our private insurance carriers. Only rarely do I ever hear of someone (usually on some talk show) not being covered by their private insurance carrier and then those cases are strictly anecdotal.
# 14. 5/23/12 9:07 AM by Thomas - Pittsford
Few pathologists defend PSA screening programs, UNLESS they are involved in commercial enterprises that cater exclusively to the prostate biopsy clientele.
Biopsies are reimbursed by Medicare and other insurers on a per-core basis. If a urologist collects 2 cores of tissue from two different sites in the prostate, he or she is paid a certain figure times two. The result has been that what used to be a two-core case has now grown into a case with 12 or more cores.
More cores also means the pathologist is more likely to stumble on a microscopic focus of inconsequential adenocarcinoma, which puts the patient on an even more intensive/expensive track of repeat biopsies, follow-up office visits, and even radical treatment.
There is so much profit involved in testing it would make your head spin.
Editor's Note: a pathologist does autopsies, freak. you can't even lie intelligently.
# 15. 5/23/12 9:17 AM by Eddie
Cancer is big business, that's why they will never find a "cure".
# 16. 5/23/12 9:20 AM by Fred - Fairport
One problem is that the PSA test is not sensitive enough. If it's negative you may have a 94% chance of not having the cancer, but when it's positive you only have a 35% chance of having it. The remaining 65% of patients will undergo unnecessary surgery and risk potentially severe side effects including impotence.
Editor's Note: or they could undergo further testing, or weigh the odds for themselves.
# 17. 5/23/12 9:25 AM by Mike - Brockport
My Dr has me get a psa every year even though it is always very low for someone my age(57). I don't mind since I have never had a false positive but I am sure my insurance company is raising everyone's rate to pay for a test I don't need.
Editor's Note: that stupid doctor, why can't he do what the accounts want
# 18. 5/23/12 9:29 AM by Ultra Bob - salt lake city Utah
When the government makes recommendations, rules, and regulations about health and medical things, it is your doctor or your medical insurance that is behind the curtain.
Except when it’s a farmer pushing his product, or some other private business.
# 19. 5/23/12 9:36 AM by Steve
It seems every comment has turned into someone's idiotic political rant. Even if it's not related like death penalty stuff they shoehorn it in. It seems to happen on every kind of blog now. I know why it happens but it really ruins any kind of adult conversation .
# 20. 5/23/12 9:37 AM by Hm - Rochester
Someone once told me, "If you want to know how NOT to do something, look at anything run by the government."
It is frustrating, and yet morbidly interesting that this is so - like seeing a crash by the side of the road and dreading, in the back of your mind, that someday it might be you.
I fully intend to go through with any exam I believe I need. One of the founders was much wiser than some of the nitwits we have today. I believe the phrase he used was "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
# 21. 5/23/12 9:40 AM by Tim
These proctologists got some 'splainin' to do.
Editor's Note: you go to a proctologist for a urologic problem?
# 22. 5/23/12 9:48 AM by Otto Monocropodopolis - DUFFYVILLE,NY(Copyright 2011 Otto)
A pathologist is a physician. (MD or DO) who examines tissues and is responsible for the accuracy of laboratory tests.
Editor's Note: an md is a doctor. anybody else is a pretender.
# 23. 5/23/12 9:58 AM
Pathologists are physicians who diagnose and characterize disease in living patients by examining biopsies or bodily fluid. Pathologists may also conduct autopsies to investigate causes of death.
# 24. 5/23/12 10:01 AM
956 am.... You were speaking of Soldiers walking down Main Street. Just yesterday I watched a twilight zone episode called "The Passerby". Wish you could see this episoe. think it was season 3. Was about Civil War....you and i can be kindred spirits sometimes.......have a good one
# 25. 5/23/12 10:04 AM by Gene - West Valley City, Ut
Bob, I have to agree with you 100% on this one. I had regular PSA screenings starting at my 50th year. Due to these screenings, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and have since had it treated. My urologist and I decided that treatment was necessary due to my "younger" age and being otherwise healthy. Screw the government recommendations and continue to screen for these conditions!
# 26. 5/23/12 10:06 AM by Arthur - Williamsville
"Editor's Note: a pathologist does autopsies, freak. you can't even lie intelligently".
The major part of a pathologist's job involves the diagnosis of disease by studying tissue samples (histology). It ranges from tiny biopsies to organs being removed at an operation.
Those who specialise in autopsies are Forensic Pathologists. You have been watching too many reruns of Quincy.
# 27. 5/23/12 10:17 AM by Working in Akron - Akron, OH
I see that your site has once again been invaded by the Obamabot trolls. Most have their heads so far up Obama's PSA (While you're up their Andy from Philadelphia why don't you check out Barack's prostate) that they can't see straight. Others pretend to know everything there is about the process. (Thomas from Pittsford) When it comes down to who gets to make the decision to undergo the early screening why don't we just leave that up to the individual not some health care board. It's interesting that the Obamabots never mention that the health care system would have ample funds if it wasn't for the free health care that gets passed out to illegal immigrants, dope heads and welfare cases that use the emergency room as their primary health care provider. As well as the billions spent in "CYA" testing because of the lack of tort reform.
So why not plug the largest leaks in the system first and then, if necessary, we can carve out all the big risk takers (homosexuals, the obese, smokers, dope heads, et al) that suck up a disproportionate amount of the health care dollar.
# 28. 5/23/12 10:26 AM by John - SLC
The "Death Panels" are getting an early start.
Delay detection to save a few pennies and then when problems are found, deny costly treatment because there are insufficient dollars.
Obamacare MUST be repealed completely. And, every board, panel, agency, rule, regulation and policy born by it need to be cancelled and rescinded.
Then all the other socialist policies need to be killed.
# 29. 5/23/12 10:27 AM by Steve - Bluffdale, UT
Good public health policy is not always good for individual health. When public health policies are made cost vs lives saved is considered at the expense of the life of the individual.
# 30. 5/23/12 10:29 AM by Tom Bastian - Fairport, NY
My father had prostate cancer, his brother died of prostate cancer, my other uncle and my grandfather had prostate cancer. I am 68 and get a PSA test twice a year. A few years ago my PSA was elevated so I had a biopsy. Sure, I was concerned considering my family history but when I got the results of the biopsy and the results showed no cancer I was very relieved. The biopsy was a little uncomfortable but in the end well worth effort. You can put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig. You can call rationing of testing as being a reasonable way to save money. I'd call it death panels, bureaucrats deciding who will live and who will die. Notice how bureaucrats rhymes with democrats.
# 31. 5/23/12 11:10 AM by Ron Moore
I always thought a pathologist was a very highly educated academically oriented person who studied and was an expert on paths, walkways, and trails. Doesn't the county hire or retain a pathologist to monitor the condition of the canal path?
# 32. 5/23/12 12:07 PM by Doug - Leicester
This how National Healthcare will work " You Die Quick and save them money" Just like we are going to save Social Security " You up the age to 85 and everyone dies before they can collect"
# 33. 5/23/12 12:35 PM by jaymor
Since the advent of Obamacare, rarely a month goes by without an "impartial" study proclaiming that some longstanding medical procedure is no longer necessary. Is the timing purely coincidental ? Or are the quality and accessabilty of medical care in jeopardy.
# 34. 5/23/12 1:29 PM by Mark - ER
IF Barry and Michelle skip their screenings and tests I'll skip mine.
# 35. 5/23/12 3:10 PM by Stewart - Springville, Utah
I come from a family that has a history of cancer. one of my grandfathers died from melanoma and many of his siblings as well as many of my mom's cousins have died of some form of cancer. My wife's oldest sister died less than a month after being diagnosed with stage 4 lymphnoma. My father is now a 4 year survivor of Colon cancer so cancer is taken seriously in our family.
At the recommendation of my father's oncologist I had my first colonoscopy @ 45. The preparation wasn't pleasant but the piece of mind knowing that for now I'm ok was worth it. All of my siblings have also been encouraged to get screened by age 45.
I usually have to push my wife in to getting her breast screenings and my 20 YO daughter has already been referred to have her first mammogram.
As much as the govt is going to tell me it's ok to delay screening or that it isn't necessary I won't be listening. Too many good people who didn't get screened for one reason or another are no longer with us. I don't intend to be one of them.
# 36. 5/23/12 3:18 PM
Speech pathologists do jawtopsies.
# 37. 5/23/12 3:24 PM by Bob H. - Henrietta, NY
When everyone gets "free" government health care, then we all get rationed health care.
Let the waiting lines begin.....
# 38. 5/23/12 3:40 PM by Rick - Lehi Utah
I think that Jon Huntsman,Sr would agree with you.. get tested and do it often.. he is a prostate cancer survivor.. as to you comment that there are MDs and everyone else is a pretender. why is it that Doctors of Osteopathy are found in hospitals then? As I understand it the DO focuses a little more on the skeleton system... There is do and od.. one is the eye doctor and I always get them mixed up.
# 39. 5/23/12 6:04 PM by Rob - Lewis County, NY
I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.....(sarcasm flag).
RE Comments by #11: "In fact, in government run hospitals you get to stay in hospital until you are fixed up not shoved out the door half better like big biz makes you do under private healthcare."
1st Question: Do you really believe that? Ask #1 George from Canada. I'd be willing to bet that he'll disagree.
2nd Question: Do you spend the entire day stoned, or just the mornings?
# 40. 5/23/12 9:28 PM by Political Observer - Greece, NY
While she was unprepared to run for vice-president, Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head when she talked about the "Death Panels". This reduced testing is just the start. The next thing to come is "age limits" on medical procedures you are entitled to receive.
Off topic: Some of your comments on the radio this am, "boarding schools for children" were first voiced by Newt Gingrich in the middle 90's. He was talking about kids raising babies. The liberal media laughed at him just like they laughed at Dan Quail for talking about the lack of family values on TV sit coms.
# 41. 5/23/12 11:12 PM by Leigh - Rochester, NY
Pathologists don't just do autopsies. Obama himself is a pathologist. Oh wait, I meant pathological.......
# 42. 5/23/12 11:26 PM by Mike - Utah
In Utah if you want radiation treatments you can just go to Tooele Army Depot. There's enough radiation there to do the job.
# 43. 5/24/12 5:37 AM by Liberty Tom - Rochester, NY
All this stuff about heart attacks too.....way overblown. Take an aspirin and call the doctor in a week or so. That should be sufficient.
# 44. 5/24/12 5:56 AM by timmy
Say we have spent every single dollar we have on health care except the last $1 million. Should that be spent to save one life from prostrate cancer; two lives from breast cancer; seven lives from serious birth defects; twenty people from lives of continuos pain, 100 lives from .......
We do seriously need some form of "death" panels, we just need more acceptable terminology if we really do want affordable health care. Priorities are necessary, period.
# 45. 5/24/12 8:17 AM by Jean
The government's opinion is based on research done by many doctors and research laboratories, not lawyers.
# 46. 5/24/12 10:10 AM by OldVietVet - Rochester, NY
Yea! But I wouldnt look for the single payer system, or the same National Health Plan they have in Europe,or Canada. Govt.employees at all levels,elected officials, and, for that matter, six figure income people will have an array of options (paid for);The rest of us-that vast unwashed "mass" of people will wait in line with the winos and transients,and we will surely not have the "options" that we had when private insurance was a part of our "benefits" package. Working men and Women,-ordinary citizens-some of whom are spilling their guts defending this Nation,will be told to stuff it.The single payer system is a myth-its a two tier system that the Obama minions are reaching for.To them, thats the "real poliltik" (or something like that) that their beloved communist brethern would rather avoid talking about-for now!
# 47. 5/24/12 10:45 AM
Bob, thanks again for a very insightful article. A big fan
# 48. 5/24/12 10:57 AM by Neil - Ohio
A few years back, they found a lump in my mother's breast. She was scheduled for a biopsy, had a wire placed into it under real-time x-ray and a follow up biopsy She was subjected to real risk, real pain and real radiation (which can cause cancer). While it is unlikely that this would have killed her, it could have and it does kill some people every year. There is no such thing as a risk free medical procedure. The results: the lump was just a lump, no cancer.
It is simply a matter of math, you look at the effects and the harm done by testing different people at different times in their life and based on risk factors there are points where you get more harm than benefits from testing and points where you get more benefit than harm. Those points change all the time because we get better at quantifying peoples risk, and we get better at treating the cancer. If you know that you have a high family risk, say you carry a defective BRAC2 gene then the advice will be to err on the side of more testing, if you have low risk, the chance of the testing doing more harm than good is higher.
Any advice is based on published papers with good peer review from doctors, you should read some of them, and talk to some of the doctors about these things. You will find some disagreements among them, but most will agree that this is a sound method and falls well under the mantra of "first do no harm".
At the end of the day there is also a limited amount of money that we can spend on medical care. Already we spend 14% of everything we make on medicine, and on average we die younger than people in France who don't shower. This is about spending the money where it makes the most difference, does the most good and the least harm.
# 49. 5/24/12 12:39 PM by dave - rochester
I'm a 2-time survivor simply because my urologist pushed a little harder to find the answer to a problem that my first doc said was "really nothing...just changes that occur as we age". It turned out to be both kidney and bladder cancer. Fight for your life...find a good doc...find a researcher...go to Strong Urology...they are the best.
# 50. 5/24/12 3:13 PM by Jay Upadhyaya - Sebring Fl
I am responding to ur article @ Indian (Gujarati) Motel Owners. You are absolutely right about the story. I would like to have ur opinion about the population on govt. aid who get food stamp, almost free healthcare, cash and many more assistance But manage to smoke a pack a day as well buy plenty of lottery tickets, can wait for years to qualify for disability though perfectly normal to play football or basketball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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