Excerpts from a chat on colon cancer

Seth (Chicago) – 12:47 PM:
Are there any downsides to screening? Can it do more harm than good in any instances?

Dr. Manoj Mehta
Any screening test is only worth its trade-offs. That’s why we select the patients, and do not just do it on everyone. We call the threshold a “pre-test probability”. So, if you are young, have no family history, and are suffering from GERD, the pre-test probability is low. Since there are risks, the risk-benefit ratio becomes skewed if we don’t select patients well. And in those instances, yes, the risks might outweigh the benefits. This being said, after 50, the risks are outweighed by the benefits in even the general population, so screening is advocated for almost all comers.

This is my last post from this online chat. If you want to read the whole thing, feel free to click this link.

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