Shared decision making still lacking for cancer screening

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When it comes to cancer screening, doctors often do not adequately discuss the balance of pros and cons with their patients, a new study suggests.

Guidelines call for doctors and patients to engage in shared decision making regarding cancer screening, such as whether to have prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.

Michael Pignone, MD
Michael Pignone, MD

That’s because although screening can help spot some cancers early on, it can also come with a risk of false positives and unnecessary and invasive follow-up procedures.

Often there is no right decision on whether to screen, and different people may weigh the options and their potential consequences differently, researchers said.

“Cancer screening and a number of other medical services are not all just plain benefit,” said Dr. Michael Pignone at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who worked on the new study.

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