Doctors are warning that some of the common medical tests routinely taken by Americans do more harm than good, waste billions of health care dollars annually and could endanger your health or even your life. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation asked more than 50 medical societies of family doctors, oncologists, cardiologists and other specialties to identify tests and treatments that are often unnecessary.
John Santa, medical director at Consumer Reports says these screening tests often yield false-positive results that lead to a spiral of unneeded invasive procedures, medications and even surgeries. If you have symptoms or certain risk factors, these tests can be valuable even lifesaving but they’re performed on far too many people.
The list of unnecessary or overused medical tests include:
1. Nuclear stress tests, and other imaging tests, after heart procedures
2. Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test
3. PSA to screen for prostate cancer
4. PET scan to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
5. X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain
6. Yearly Pap tests
7. Bone density scan for women before age 65 and men before age 70
8. Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts
9. Colonoscopy after age 75
10. Yearly physical
For more details on the reasons the experts chose these procedures, please visit the AARP Website.