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Prostate cancer screening guidelines updated

The American Cancer Society has updated its screening guidelines for prostate cancer, emphasizing that doctors educate patients about the potential risks and benefits of screening. The updated guidelines, published online March 3 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, keep the society's core recommendations on what age to begin discussions. The main difference from the last ACS guidelines issued in 2001 is the emphasis on informing patients about screening uncertainties and involving patients more in the decision-making process ( "With all the evidence we've got, it's increasingly clear that the benefits are uncertain for prostate cancer screening," said Andrew Wolf, MD, lead author of the ACS guidelines and associate professor of medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "We felt it was time to really emphasize the informed and shared-decision making [approach]." The cancer society continues to recomme ...

Medical errors: Doctors, risk managers take different approach to disclosure

When things go wrong and patients are harmed, doctors and risk managers have reasons to fear telling patients what happened and offering an apology. For a physician, the result could be the turmoil of a years-long medical liability lawsuit. For a risk manager, the hospital's bottom line could be hurt. So how do these two groups compare when it comes to disclosure? A new study, apparently the first to pose that question, found that physicians are more hesitant than risk managers to tell patients when an error occurs. But doctors are likelier than risk managers to use the word "error" in describing the mistakes and are quicker to say, "I'm sorry." The study was published in the March Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety ( Nearly 3,000 risk managers at health care facilities nationwide were surveyed in 2004 and 2005 for the study. More than 1,300 doctors in Washington state and Mis ...

Obama opts for virtual colonoscopy; CMS covers traditional only

If a virtual colonoscopy is an appropriate screening tool for arguably the most important patient U.S. Navy physicians will see all year, then shouldn't it be good enough for Grandma and Grandpa? That's what radiologists have been saying since President Obama on Feb. 28 received his first routine physical exam as commander-in-chief at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. During the exam, Obama received a virtual colonoscopy, also known as a CT colonography. But administration officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last year denied coverage of the same exam for Medicare beneficiaries, limiting access to a screening that advocates say is as accurate as a standard colonoscopy and much less invasive for the patient. "We are pleased that the president is in good health and that he and his doctors have embraced CT colonography's ability to accurately detect colorectal cancer," said Judy Yee, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology's Colon Cancer ...