Report: Many Cancer Screenings Not Necessary Unless High Risk

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Comstock/Jupiterimages(NEW YORK) — Are all cancer screenings equal?  No, says Consumer Reports.

In its March issue, the magazine evaluated 11 cancer screenings and found that eight can be avoided — unless you are at high risk.  These include screenings for bladder, lung, oral, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, skin and testicular cancers.

Consumer Reports says tests for cervical, colon and breast cancers are the most effective.  But even with these screenings, age matters, as Dr. John Santa, the director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, points out.

“If you’re not a high risk person, you don’t need to worry about screening of the colon until you’re 50,” he says.

He adds, “The benefits of mammography, for women in their 40s, is small.  There is a benefit, but it’s small.”

Santa says there is concern because there’s more and more advertising out there for various types of cancer screenings, even for tests that aren’t very good.  He advises patients to act like consumers when they are in their doctor’s office.

“They need to become more savvy buyers, ask questions, understand what they are getting here, understand what’s going to happen if this test is positive.  Are there other alternatives to this test?  How good is it?” he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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