10 Unneeded Healthcare Treatments


Published:

Doctors are often criticized for prescribing unneeded tests and procedures that harm more than they help and add to medical costs that could otherwise be avoided. Diagnostic tests are better than ever but they pick up conditions that might be perfectly harmless, forcing us to rethink when things are best left alone.

The ability of medicine to detect, heal and prevent ill health is undoubtedly among the crowning achievements of humanity. And those with access to state-of-the-art medicine are lucky indeed. In some respects, though, our faith in the increasingly sophisticated healthcare systems can blind us to a potential downside.

Unnecessary tests and occasionally overzealous healthcare systems in the West have created a crisis of overdiagnosis, according to H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute in New Hampshire. Too much medical care is creating unnecessary risk, anxiety and treatment. What might be driving this? Widely held assumptions, Welch argues, that doctors and patients alike need to challenge to keep medicine in a healthy balance. Here are five of them.

Medical Myth 1: Earlier Diagnosis Is Always Better

When cancer-screening campaigns say early detection of cancer saves lives, they rarely emphasize the trade-off. “There is the potential to help some but you will hurt others,” says Welch.

For some cancers, screening and prompt treatment are essential. But with others, you might not help at all. A major trial involving 400,000 men published in March found that a single screening for prostate cancer -- using a blood test for prostate-specific antigens -- didn’t prolong lives, but did lead to additional worry and treatment.

As tests improve, medicine is increasingly finding non-progressing cancers, which wouldn’t go on to cause harm. But doctors don’t know for certain whether a cancer will spread, so treatment often follows. At best, cancer screening might reduce your risk of dying of, say, colon cancer, from 3 to 2 per cent, Welch says. At worst, it will lead to more tests, worry, and unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Medical Myth 2: CT Scans For Minor Head Injuries

Approximately 50 percent of children who visit hospital emergency departments with head injuries are given a CT scan. CT scanning is associated with radiation exposure that may escalate future cancer risk. CT technology exposes patients to approximately 100 times the radiation of a standard chest X-ray which itself increases the risk of cancer.

The recommendation calls for clinical observation prior to making a decision about needing a CT. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Medical Myth 3: Action is Always Better Than None

One thing about humans, says Welch, is that “we default towards doing something.”

While prompt action often saves lives, sometimes no intervention may be the best thing. Lower-back pain is a classic example. Doctors have been increasingly ordering scans as a result of patient complaints of back pain, and finding signs of degeneration in the spine. But the same signs are found in older adults without back pain. Despite little evidence that operations improve quality of life in these cases, back surgeries have risen exponentially, and they come with risks of infection and post-operative stroke.

Why do many doctors go the intervention route? As Welch notes in his book Less Medicine More Health, when doctors do something, they’ll either get credit for curing a patient, or credit for trying. If they do nothing, patients often complain that their concerns aren’t being taken seriously. There’s a money motive as well, particularly in the US, where doctors are paid more when they order more procedures.

Medical Myth 4: Mammograms Save Lives

Mammograms and breast screening have had no impact on breast cancer deaths and have actually been found to increase breast cancer mortality. With toxic radiation, mammogram testing compresses sensitive breast tissue causing pain and possible tissue damage. To make matters worse, the false negative and false positive rates of mammography are a troubling 30% and 89% respectively.

Another concern is that many breast cancers occur below the armpits; however, mammography completely misses this axilliary region, viewing only the breast tissue compressed between two plates of glass. Considering these drawbacks, breast thermography should be given closer consideration.

Thermography is a non-invasive and non-toxic technique which can detect abnormalities before the onset of a malignancy, and as early as ten years before being recognized by mammography. This makes it much safer and potentially life-saving health test for women who are unknowingly developing abnormalities, as it can take several years for a cancerous tumor to develop and be detected by a mammogram.

Medical Myth 5: Newer Treatments Are Always Better

In the 1950s and 1960s, an estimated 2000 babies were born with birth defects in the UK, due to exposure to the drug thalidomide, prescribed for morning sickness. Many think regulation would prevent such a tragedy today, but regulators can only approve or restrict drugs on the basis of the evidence they have in front of them. And drugs are tested on a relatively small number of people, usually people without any health issues, and more often men. Studies might only run for a few months, but risks associated with new drugs might not be become apparent for years.

In the US, new drugs are often aggressively marketed to both doctors and the general public. A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of the 222 new drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2010, one-third resulted in a “safety event” after going on the market. Of those, the majority needed to include or improve communication about a risk, but three were recalled. The arthritis drug Vioxx (rofecoxib) was pulled in the US and the UK in 2004, after it was linked to cardiovascular issues. The drug’s maker, Merck, paid settlements in about 27,000 lawsuits after people taking the drug had heart attacks and strokes.

Medical Myth 7: Inducing Labor Or C-Section Before 39 Weeks

Delivery prior to 39 weeks is associated with increased risk of learning disabilities, respiratory problems and other potential risks. While sometimes induction prior to 39 weeks is medically necessary, the recommendation is clear that simply having a mature fetal lung test, in the absence of appropriate clinical criteria, is not an indication for delivery. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Academy of Family Physicians)

Medical Myth 8: It Never Hurts To Get More Information

Finding out more about what ails you is a good thing -- if it’s useful knowledge. At a time of big-data hype, people are confusing more information for useful knowledge, says Welch. Take genome-sequencing services that test for a range of disease risks. Most of the disease-linked genes we know about aren’t that influential: they might increase the chance of getting a disease from 4 to 6 cent, for example. What is the use of such information?

People typically want tests to put themselves at ease, says Welch. But even as a test rules out one concern, it may spot another thing to worry about. MRIs and CT scans are increasingly picking up abnormalities that doctors weren’t looking for -- they often don’t matter, but do cause worry. The worry cycle doesn’t need to start: estimates vary widely, but a significant proportion of high-tech medical imaging in the US is unnecessary.

Medical Myth 9: Lipid Profile Tests Prevent Cardiovascular Problems

Lipid Profile test checks various parameters of blood, such as cholesterol (good or high density lipoprotein as well as bad or low density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels. Several scientific papers have proven that people with high so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol live the longest and there is noow a large number of findings that contradict the lipid hypothesis that cholesterol has to be lowered at all.

Medical Myth 10: It’s All About Avoiding Death

Chemotherapy might prolong life in advanced cancers by a few months, but patients don’t always want the additional time if it means dozens of extra medical appointments, nausea, fatigue and weakness. Still, chemotherapy is common at the end of life, particularly in the US. A 2016 study found that almost 40 per cent of people with cancer were given chemotherapy in the last six months of their lives, compared with less than 20 per cent in the Netherlands.

In some cases, medical care focused on avoiding death can even have the opposite effect. Welch points to a study of 151 people with advanced lung cancer -- those who received palliative care to ease their symptoms actually lived longer than those who received more aggressive medical care.

This article was republished from Prevent Disease.

See also:
Caesarean Sections Can Cause Microbiome Changes Which Lead To Obesity
Breast Cancer Study of 90,000 Women Sends Shockwaves Through The Medical Community

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

September 25, 2018

Following last night’s dramatic full Moon, today’s emotional tenor is less conspicuous. The Aires Moon makes an early morning opposition to Mercury, which may present lingering communication challenges at the start of the workday. Double-check messages…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2018

September 23 - 25 A discipline called "Qigongology" has emerged as a result of the experimental data from modern medicine and clinical research combined into a 20 year study and...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Start date: September 23, 2018  Take your knowledge to the next level and become a holistic professional facilitating treatments with clients and/or teaching. Eight month program assists...

Cost: $1199 (Early Bird $1099)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Hosted by members of the Reflexology Association of NH and Renu Spa Complimentary mini reflexology sessions in honor of world reflexology week. Holistic Wellness practitioners, vendors, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Renu Body Spa and Salon
583 Daniel Webster Highway
Merrimack, NH  03054
View map »


Sponsor: Reflexology Association of NH
Telephone: 603-234-5769
Contact Name: Andrea Montgomery

More information

Dates: September 23, October 20, November 17, December 8; 10am - 5pm Instructor: Linda Patterson, Clinical Herbalist & Aromatherapist Learn how essential oils work to heal the body, mind...

Cost: $500 plus $50 materials

Where:
12 Pelham Terrace
Arlington, MA  02476
View map »


Website »

More information

This transformational workshop for singles and couples will equip you with the awareness, tools and skills to create the connection and intimacy you desire. Register here: https://bit.ly/2MocBcv...

Cost: $147 per person

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
22 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, MA  02472
View map »


Sponsor: Watertown Center for Healing Arts
Telephone: 508-340-0781
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

If you seek peace and happiness outside of yourself, this is a call to return home. What you think, you become, and what you seek is already within. This is a unique blend of practices for mind,...

Cost: $22 per class

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: SOHUM
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Break emotional patterns that keep you stuck in the pain of addictive habits. Heal mental trauma through physical practices involving movement, breath, and meditation.

Where:
Yoga at the Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga At The Ashram
Telephone: (508) 376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What better way to end a busy day than with a little bliss. We'll support your body right where it is today and help you to open your spine to find more movement and flexibility. Begin and end...

Cost: $18

Where:
Body Love Wellness Center
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Sponsor: Bliss Through Yoga
Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Have you heard of natural birth control and wondered how that can be possible? Or are you trying to or planning to conceive? This session is for you! We’ll talk about the benefits of charting...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Democracy Center
45 Mt. Auburn St
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

More information

Enjoy The Experience Of Being Fully Human And Transcendental With Enlightenment Transmission An Enlightenment Transmission happens when there is a connection between a person’s inner Self...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quaker Meeting House
1837 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
View map »


Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Contact Name: Board of Directors
Website »

More information

With Jonathan Glass, Ayurvedic practitioner Presenting a 28-day program designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and nourishment of your body, mind and soul, inspiring results that can...

Where:
Zoom online class
Once you register, you will receive a link to the location of the Zoom class.
, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

With Carrie Rowan Wednesday evenings at 7pm, a 4-week introductory class that teaches quick energy medicine tools, mini meditations to help moms/dads and caregivers reduce stress and stay calm...

Where:
Fitzgerald Institute
Northboro, MA


Telephone: (508) 273-2610
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Singer/songwriter Linda Marks releases her new album “Moments” at Club Passim in Harvard Square at 8 pm. Joining her will be her seven piece band. Rick Drost opens. Tickets:...

Where:
Club Passim
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

September 27 - 30 Led by Chuck Raffoni ( E-RYT200) this sure to be unforgettable weekend is designed to allow you to experience Vermont in the beautiful transition from summer to fall. You...

Cost: $650

Where:
Good Commons
Plymouth, VT


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Telephone: 978-807-3131
Contact Name: Chuck Raffoni
Website »

More information

“Reality itself is always already the case.” In every time and place, human beings have sought to grasp the ultimate mysteries of life and death. From time to time, great...

Where:
West Newton Cinema
1296 Washington Street
West Newton, MA
View map »


Telephone: (508) 650-0136
Website »

More information

The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation) is an innovative holistic curriculum addressing the current health crisis and epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Grades 3-5 Instructor: Peyton Pugmire Spend September at Sorcery School! Students will be “sorted” into houses of their own design, create personalized wands, pen and cast rhyming...

Cost: $145

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

Daily practice for peace, healing, Christ mindedness, meditation, awakening.

Where:
Milton, MA


Telephone: 617-696-5685
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 28 - 30 Sheng Zhen Gong is not just a qigong practice, it is timeless wisdom that guides us to the way (dao) of life – a path to feeling liberated. It is the sacred truth of...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Special Offer - take both Simply Healing classes and save $25. Please click here to register. Many of us have some knowledge of attachments, thought forms and extraterrestrial influences....

Cost: $125

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Fundraiser for the Framingham Public Library Share in this extraordinary evening of spirit communication. Join Diane as she bridges the gap and connects to spirit delivering messages from...

Cost: $25 per person

Where:
Framingham Public Library
49 Lexington Street
Framingham, MA  01702
View map »


Sponsor: Friends Framingham Library
Telephone: 508-875-1918
Contact Name: Marsha Farmelant
Website »

More information

September 28, 12pm-7pm and September 29, 10am-6pm Experience therapeutic mini foot, hand or ear reflexology treatment. Your donations will benefit cancer patients associated with Lucy’s...

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
North Easton, MA

More information

Bee Kind Music Class with Carrie Rowan inspires a love to music in little ones. 10am on Fridays for 8 weeks at Playtown Express in Southboro. To register call (508) 480-0022 or...

Where:
Playtown Express
150 Cordaville Road
Southboro, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-273-2610
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Blue Skye Wellness Presents: Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Full Day Workshop Learn how to effectively use essential oils Practice safe use guidelines Discern how to choose which oils...

Cost: $120

Where:
Lenox Community Center
65 walker Street
PO Box 98
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Sponsor: Blue Skye Wellness, LLC
Telephone: 413-242-4069
Contact Name: Kay Judge
Website »

More information

With Ross J. Miller, psychic healer, medium, regression therapist In this unique, experiential workshop you’ll learn how to identify your guardian angels and spirit guides by name and...

Where:
Newton, MA


Sponsor: Ross J. Miller
Telephone: (617) 527-3583
Website »

More information

Prequisite – Simply Healing Part 1 Special offer - Take two classes and save $25 - see info in link. This class continues the knowledge gained in Simply Healing - Level 1 as we...

Cost: $175

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

With Katie Malloy Ramaci  Expand your connection to the angels by learning IET levels 2 and 3 certification. Truly move forward on your path. Learn Soulstar activation and release...

Cost: $1099 (Early Bird $999)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

September 29 - October 5 7 individual days of immersion in the wisdom, healing and bliss on the life-changing Enlightenment Transmission Intensive in beautiful MidCoast, Maine, USA. In theory...

Cost: Sliding Scale $125-95/day

Where:
Damariscotta, ME


Contact Name: Board of Directors
Website »

More information

Learn basics of Tachyon and quantum physics. Sample the Tachyon healing and meditation chamber. Raffle and door prize.

Cost: $25 at the door or $20 pre-register

Where:
The Sanctuary for Celestial Empowerment
10 Grassmere Avenue
Suite #300
West Hartford, CT
View map »


Telephone: 860-586-8700
Contact Name: Celeste E Mattingly, LCSW
Website »

More information

There are few instruments like the Gong that can heal us through its purification properties of sound vibrations. In this energy field, the beginnings of removing all blocks can occur allowing you...

Cost: $35 early bird till Sept 25 ($40 after)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

September 28, 12pm-7pm and September 29, 10am-6pm Experience therapeutic mini foot, hand or ear reflexology treatment. Your donations will benefit cancer patients associated with Lucy’s...

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
North Easton, MA

More information

September 29 - 30 We all want to feel joy, happiness, contentment — and with the tools you get at this workshop — you can. Access and sustain a higher level of consciousness.

Where:
Boston, MA


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags