1. The fine line between too much medicine and too little

    Too many tests... or too few?

    NOW they're suddenly interested in the over-testing, overtreatment, and over-diagnosis of American patients????

    I've been saying for ages that we're poked, prodded, scanned, and zapped like no other people on earth -- and most of the time, those tests and treatments aren't just needless.

    Many are downright dangerous, especially when they involve radioactive imaging.

    Now, the mainstream claims it's catching on, with "expert" doctors making lists of everything THEY think YOU don't need.

    Isn't that nice of them?

    The new "Choose Wisely" campaign from Consumer Reports magazine and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, for example, has identified 45 tests and treatments they say you probably don't need.

    They might even be right with many of them -- like the stress tests often given during physicals for people with no hint of heart risk. Or the imaging tests given to people with nonspecific low back pain (which are often used as an excuse for expensive surgical procedures that don't actually solve the problem and might even make it worse).

    Those ARE overused and often unnecessary.

    But I'd rather see Consumer Reports stick to reviewing toasters and washing machines, because I can't help but think this new campaign and others like it are about more than just a sudden interest in our collective health.

    It's about cutting costs.

    So now, instead of giving you something you might need, docs will check their list of approved tests -- and you could get denied a procedure that'll actually save your life.

    Colonoscopies are a perfect example. "Choose Wisely" says you don't need them more than once a decade, or every five years if your last one detected polyps. But this is a test proven to save lives from a cancer that can turn deadly in a hurry if you wait too long (like, say, 10 years).

    The problem right now isn't that colonoscopies are overused -- it's that too many people refuse to get them. And soon, you'll have to beg, steal, or borrow to get one or any other procedure you truly need.

    Welcome to the future. And yes, I see penny-pinching ObamaCare hidden in the fine print of this one.

  2. Cut your death risk in half with this simple procedure

    Colon screenings proven to save lives

    If you want to save your life, save your butt first.

    Colonoscopies are the only cancer screenings I stand behind, and that's because they can do something all the PSA tests and mammograms in the world can't.

    They can save lives, including yours, with new research now showing the procedure can chop your death risk in HALF.

    Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City tracked 2,602 patients who had polyps removed during colonoscopies. Over a follow-up period of up to 20 years, there were just 12 colorectal cancer deaths in that group.

    This is nothing short of miraculous, because cancer stats tell us that a group this size should have least 25 deaths from colon cancer.

    That's a difference of 53 percent. Looked at another way, NOT getting scoped will double your risk of dying of the disease.

    But is this really a surprise to anyone? It's downright obvious why colonoscopies work so well: It's the only screening that gives docs the power to detect and remove cancers at the same time.

    It comes with minimal risk, almost no side effects and you can be done before lunch.

    But despite the fact that this is one of the easiest ways to save your life, I can hear some of you screaming at your computer screens right now.

    "You want me to let a doctor stick WHAT up where?!"

    All I can say is, get over it. Your life is on the line here.

    Find a good gastroenterologist, and by that I don't mean the one with the biggest ad in the phonebook. Get a recommendation from someone you trust, and then ask the doctor how often he detects polyps.

    Don't be shy about this. A good doc will be ready for the question and armed with an answer -- and a good doc will be in line with national averages, which means he should find polyps in roughly 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men.

    Then, schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning. Studies have shown docs detect more polyps earlier in the day -- and since each polyp is a potential cancer, you want to make sure he spots every last one.

    Still reading? Stop here -- get on the horn and get started. It's not just your butt that's on the line.

  3. Cut-rate colon screening misses cancers

    In fact, these bargain-bin procedures can be had for a quarter of the price of a colonoscopy -- and now, a new study finds that low price is matched only by its low rate of effectiveness.
  4. Colon docs poop out

    A new study confirms that docs get worse at colonoscopies as the clock winds down toward quittin’ time – with some docs only half as good at the last procedure of the day as they are for the first.

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