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Diagnostic Tests
Old 10-17-2008, 07:15 PM   #1
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Diagnostic Tests

I recently got a mailing with the name of an organization to which I belong advertising a series of diagnostic medical tests that will be available in my area shortly. (I think the organization was just selling its mailing list.)

The tests are all sonographs looking for clogs in the carotid areries, legs, stomach, etc.

The price is $129 for 4 tests.

I called my doctor and he said it probably is not worth spending the money on.

Any other experience out there with similar pitches?

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Old 10-17-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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Totally missed ovarian cancer that had spread to my mother's intestine. she died. I think it looks cool too, but my doctor agrees with yours and i'm a bit inclined, rightly or wrongly, to have a dim view of the screening. They did call a year after my Mom's screening, and after her death, to let us know she was due for another screening. yeah. i was real happy.

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Old 10-17-2008, 07:26 PM   #3
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Your doctor is probably right.

Tests are imperfect. In scenarios where the likelihood of the underlying disease in question is low, even a positive test result is likely to be a false positive. This, in turn, leads to more invasive/expensive/risky follow-up tests. It is not unusual for the risk of false positives to be greater than the benefits of finding occult disease.

Typically in these situations you read anecdotal claims about how this test saved my life. While occasionally such claims are true, you don't hear about all the thousands who underwent unnecessary invasive tests and procedures including complications for what turns out to be a false alarm.

The panel you described includes tests for aortic aneurysm, carotid stenosis, peripheral vascular disease -- guess what: those disease just happened to be testable by essentially the same instruments.

Trust your doctor in this case.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:48 AM   #4
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Good post - and the replies confirm what I suspected. A couple of weeks ago at the company picnic those tests were being offered free in the health tent. We didn't go even though as it meant standing in line for a good while and I just wasn't convinced they were worth it, even free.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:53 AM   #5
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Some years ago using mad money had that ultrasound imaging done. Got the ad in the mail for it. They found nothing remarkable.

The value was having the operator position the screen so I could see it. Had her explain the image and what it was showing. Also the acoustics.

Kinda neat seeing your own living system at work.
She probably spent 3 times the allotted, She actually enjoyed having someone actually interested in how the stuff worked. I had my techie curiosity satisfied.

I knew ahead of time that the process is mostly a money making opportunity for the vendor of the services. At least ultrasound for short term exposure is not harmful.

Now I would not be that willing to undergo CT scan for the entertainment value.

Had plenty of opportunity to watch the old Xray displaying all its life size green glow, with the radiologist sitting in front of it poking and prodding the patient. Pushing the barium filled innards via alarge wooden poker on the patient's belly. The patient was standing between the glass and Xray source. The hum of the huge power supply running the system and the smell of ozone/ionized air is still embedded in my brain.

This was back in the old country in my youth. I always wondered what the life expectancy of radiologists were with that system.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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This thread is timely! I received that mailing just this week and was wondering if I should consider having the screenings. Thanks, saved me $130.

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