Over-diagnosing sexual health problems is a subject of some interest to me, and something I wrote about in my sex primer, The Truth About Sex . I've seen more than a few clients who went to medical doctors and received hormonal and other treatments for problems that were primarily psychological. I myself got over-treated after a mammogram detected some anomaly about 15 years ago, and I ended up getting a breast biopsy I didn't need in the first place. The biopsy wasn't too bad but waiting for results and paying the hospital bills were.
Mammograms are only one of a wide range of sexual health treatments that are currently under scrutiny and debate. Some others are protocols on prostate cancer (notoriously over-treated in the U.S.), episiotomies (notoriously over-performed in the U.S.), and the use of hormones to treat libido and function issues (some treatments work, some carry more risk than reward). This does not mean we should stop getting screened -- if you are the one out of four whose life was saved, I'm sure you'd agree. But I do recommend everyone ask their doctors to explain all the possible treatment options and to get a second medical opinion before consenting to surgery. If I'd known then what I know now and I might've spared myself that biopsy.
LONDON (AP) — Breast cancer screening for women over 50 saves lives, an independent panel in Britain has concluded, confirming findings in U.S. and other studies.
But that screening comes with a cost: The review found that for every life saved, roughly three other women were overdiagnosed, meaning they were unnecessarily treated for a cancer that would never have threatened their lives.
The expert panel was commissioned by Cancer Research U.K. and Britain's department of health and analyzed evidence from 11 trials in Canada, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.