Screening for cancer seems like smart preventive health care, right? Not necessarily. Consumer Reports is advising that most people avoid many common cancer screenings. After evaluating screenings for 11 cancers, its analysis found that eight were unnecessary for the general public, and only those at high risk for particular cancers should be tested.
The most effective cancer screenings, according to Consumer Reports, were pap smears for cervical cancer, breast cancer screenings and colon cancer screenings for both men and women, though the colon cancer test was only useful for people over 50 years old.
What didn't make the cut? Urine tests for bladder cancer, CT-scans for lung cancer, blood tests for prostate cancer, tests for ovarian cancer and checks for testicular cancer were found to be unnecessary and were not always effective in clarifying the issue. Tests for skin cancer and oral cancer should be part of a normal check-up, so were considered frivolous. Screenings for pancreatic cancer scored the lowest for men and women of all ages, as there is no way to detect the cancer when it is in its curable stage.