The New York Times' Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer discuss physicians' "polarized views about the logic of routine testing" for cancers, particularly in light of the recent debates over the utility of prostate-specific antigen testing. "The dueling narratives of PSA testing boil down to the way each side frames the potential for harm from the disease compared with the collateral damage from the test and subsequent treatment," Brownlee and Lenzer write. They add that, at a time when clinicians can now screen for prostate and other cancers long before they are symptomatic, "as it stands, each man must decide for himself how he wants to play the odds," and that physicians must tread the fine line of advising their patients without pushing them "in one director or the other."
To Test? To Treat?
Oct 06, 2011