Melanoma: A Pseudoepidemic of Skin Cancer Prompts New Screening Recommendations

There appeared to be an epidemic of melanoma skin cancer, but it seems to be a pseudoepidemic caused by overdiagnosis. Screening everyone with skin exams does more harm than good and can no longer be recommended. This lesion was suspicious enough to warrant a biopsy, but screening everyone for skin cancer is not warranted. Screening

Everlywell: At-Home Lab Tests That Don’t Make Sense

EverlyWell offers 34 at-home tests for everything from IgG tests for food sensitivities to a Sleep and Stress test. Most of them make no sense and are likely to mislead customers. Here we go again! First I wrote about Theranos, then SmartJane, and now EverlyWell. More companies are jumping on the at-home testing bandwagon; apparently the convenience and

Smart Jane Test of Vaginal Health: Clever Marketing, Questionable Science

Gonorrhea. The SmartJane test is not the way to diagnose this. The uBiome company’s SmartJane test claims to use state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical genetics, algorithms, and other proprietary innovations so women can assess their own vaginal health. Customers collect samples with vaginal swabs and mail them in for processing. They

Too Many Tests

Doctors order too many tests. Some are useless, some are harmless (except for the cost), but some can lead to serious bodily harm. Misconceptions about tests Many people, even doctors, tend to think of tests as giving consistent, reliable, yes/no answers. They think a test can make a diagnosis, but that’s not how it works.

Kidney Cancer and Incidentalomas

Kidney cancer diagnoses are increasing but there has been no increase in mortality or rate of metastases. Kidney cancer is most often diagnosed as an incidental finding on a CT scan that was done for unrelated reasons. Treatment may not always be needed. In the February 1, 2019 issue of American Family Physician, there is an

MyMedLab Offers Expensive, Useless, Nonstandard Lab Tests

  One of our regular commenters forwarded to me an email that had slipped by her spam filters. It was from MyMedLab, whose slogan is “Lab Tests the Easy Way.” It starts out: What is glyphosate? Glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic Glyphosate kills bacteria in the soil The same bacteria exists in our gut

Vitamin D: To Screen or Not to Screen?

Vitamin D, the so-called sunshine vitamin, has generated a lot of attention in recent years. It has been claimed to benefit a wide variety of diseases, everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis. It is widely used along with calcium for bone health. It is added to milk and prenatal vitamins and is prescribed for breastfed

Recent Developments and Recurring Dilemmas in Cancer Screening: Colon, Lung, Thyroid

A new stool DNA test was recently approved by the FDA for colon cancer screening. My first reaction was “Yay! I hope it’s good enough to replace all those unpleasant, expensive screening colonoscopies.” But of course, things are never that simple. I wanted to explain the new test for our readers; but before I could

Colonoscopy and Other Colorectal Cancer Screening Options: An Update

When I wrote about colonoscopy in 2010, colonoscopy was thought to be the best screening test for colorectal cancer because it could visualize the entire colon and could remove adenomas that were precursors of cancer. But only fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) and sigmoidoscopy had been proven to decrease colorectal cancer incidence and mortality (by 16% and

A Skeptical Look at Screening Tests

  I’m going to follow Mark Crislip’s example and recycle my presentation from The Amazing Meeting last week, not because I’m lazy or short on time (although I am both), but because I think the information is worth sharing with a larger audience. We’ve all had screening tests and we’re all likely to have more of them,

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