Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Screening tests aren't as precise as we think | Chicago Tribune

Screening tests aren't as precise as we think | Chicago Tribune: "Researchers say doctors tend to overstate the accuracy of common tests, often because even experts misunderstand the tests' limitations. The reality is, screening tests such as mammograms for breast cancer and PSA tests for prostate cancer are imprecise tools for determining whether a patient actually has the disease. Yet even when given statistics that show a test's initial results are likely to be wrong, many doctors maintain faith that the tests generally are accurate.

In one study last year, three-quarters of obstetricians overestimated the accuracy of a test for Down syndrome. The error is multiplied when physicians relay misinformation to their patients, who may worry unnecessarily over a bad outcome or assume false confidence when the news is good."

This is why patients need to be well-informed ! You cannot afford to leave everything upto your doctor - he may not be as smart as you think he is !

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