Dr. Natasha Withers: Today there are thousands of lab tests and imaging procedures to screen for illnesses. But more screening doesn't always equal better health. In fact, unwarranted libratory test do more harm than good.
For example, many screening tests come back with false positives that may cause needless anxiety and may include expensive imaging testing even in basic procedures such as a biopsy.
A primary concern is over treatment of true positive screening test. One example of this is the Prostate Specific Antigen Blood Test or PSA for Prostate cancer.
About 20 million men in the U.
S. undergo this test each year. Although the PSA may lead to the detection of Prostate cancer, in many men cancer will never cause harm if left alone, and treatment is both useless and froth with side-effects.
Now this doesn't mean you should forego medical test altogether. For people who have symptoms, the proper use of advanced test and procedures enables detection and treatment of important medical conditions.
Some test that can benefit healthy adults when done at the appropriate time based on age and other risk factors include screening of the cholesterol and diabetes, routine screening for colon and breast cancer and routine Pap tests for woman.
So don't avoid the doctor completely, just be sure that the test you're getting are the right ones.
I'm Dr. Natasha. Live well!