Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here's Why

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9780520239760: Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here's Why
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Getting tested to detect cancer early is one of the best ways to stay healthy - or is it? In this lively, carefully researched book, a nationally recognized expert on early cancer detection challenges one of medicine's most widely accepted beliefs: that the best defense against cancer is to always try to catch it early. Read this book and you will think twice about common cancer screening tests such as total body scans, mammograms, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. Combining patient stories and solid data on common cancers, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch makes the case that testing healthy people for cancer is really a double-edged sword: while these tests may help, they often have surprisingly little effect and are sometimes even harmful. Bringing together a body of little-known medical research in an engaging and accessible style, he discusses in detail the pitfalls of screening tests, showing how they can miss some cancers, how they can lead to invasive, unnecessary treatments, and how they can distract doctors from other important issues. Welch's conclusions are powerful, counterintuitive, and disturbing: the early detection of cancer does not always save lives, it can be hard to know who really has early cancer, and there are some cancers better left undiscovered. "Should I Be Tested for Cancer?" is the only book to clearly and simply lay out the pros and cons of cancer testing for the general public. It is indispensable reading for the millions of Americans who repeatedly face screening tests and who want to make better-informed decisions about their own health care.

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"One of those gems to come out of the academic press... If you're worried about cancer, this lucidly argued book will be a godsend."--The Week

Synopsis:

Getting tested to detect cancer early is one of the best ways to stay healthy - or is it? In this book, a nationally recognized expert on early cancer detection challenges one of medicine's most widely accepted beliefs: that the best defence against cancer is to always try to catch it early. Read this book and you may think twice about common cancer screening tests such as total body scans, mammograms, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. Combining patient stories and solid data on common cancers, Dr H. Gilbert Welch makes the case that testing healthy people for cancer is really a double-edged sword: while these tests may help, they often have surprisingly little effect and are sometimes even harmful. Bringing together a body of little-known medical research in an accessible style, he discusses in detail the pitfalls of screening tests, showing how they can miss some cancers, how they can lead to invasive, unnecessary treatments, and how they can distract doctors from other important issues.

Welch's conclusions are powerful, counterintuitive, and disturbing: the early detection of cancer does not always save lives, it can be hard to know who really has early cancer, and there are some cancers better left undiscovered. "Should I Be Tested for Cancer?" clearly and simply lays out the pros and cons of cancer testing for the general public and is aimed at the millions of people who repeatedly face screening tests and who want to make better-informed decisions about their own health care.

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9780520248366: Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here's Why

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ISBN 10:  0520248368 ISBN 13:  9780520248366
Publisher: University of California Press, 2006
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