This country cannot handle change. We complain about the cost of medicine but then we can't make the hard decisions needed that would end up saving us money. The USPTF had recommended mammograms be delayed to fifty years of age. America went crazy. Now, no one follows those guidelines. The USPTF came out recently against doing the PSA test as a general screen for prostate cancer. The risk of harm, worry and cost outweighed the benefit of getting the test. The USA Today came out in their editorial blasting them. Who the hell are the USA Today editors that they can wield that kind of power and advice? They conclude:
"...at the risk of practicing medicine without a license, here's our suggestion for the 50-plus male: Get tested, then get smart."
Well, dear editors, you ARE practicing medicine without a license! I have no allegiance for or against the PSA test. If it worked better, then great. But it doesn't. Obviously, some editor over at the USA Today had prostate cancer and should have have disclosed his bias. He didn't and now millions of men who read that piece are going to listen to that paper's advice. Should a paper even be giving any medical advice?
So, here we are as physicians, once again, stuck in the middle not knowing what to do. Our guidelines are met by controversy and we could be stuck discussing this one test for ten minutes (amongst the other 50 things we are being asked to do in a small amount of time). Let the fun begin.