Choosing wisely: tests and treatments cancer patients usually DON’T need -

The ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports collaborated with specialty medical societies to create lists of “5 Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” as part of a national effort called Choosing Wisely (www.choosingwisely.org). The lists contain evidence-based recommendations made by experts. Here is the list of their recommendations on cancer.

Radiation and thyroid cancer -

Recent media reports have raised fears that radiation from dental x-rays and mammograms increase the risk of thyroid cancer. Is it true that dental x-rays and mammograms are to blame for the increase in thyroid cancer? Can a simple thyroid shield (an optional extension of the lead apron that blocks x-rays from reaching the neck) reduce the risk and put fears to rest?

Procrit, Aranesp, and Epogen-all risk and no benefit of Erythopoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) for patients with anemia due to chemotherapy? -

Anemia drugs are widely used by patients undergoing chemotherapy and patients with chronic kidney disease, but there is growing evidence that the misuse of these drugs is harming many patients. The latest FDA “communication” again raises concerns about the safety of these drugs for any use, including patients with anemia due to chemotherapy. Studies show that cancer patients who receive ESAs have worse outcomes than patients who do not, because of higher mortality rates as well as faster cancer progression.

Doctors were paid to praise hormone replacement therapy -

How a drug company convinced the medical community that hormone replacement therapy works and is safe: Wyeth paid highly respected physicians to allow their names to be listed as authors of research studies, reviews, commentaries, and letters to the editor, although they had not actually conducted or analyzed the research nor written the articles.

Danger at the dentist’s (and orthodontist’s) office: children exposed to radiation -

Has your child been to the orthodontist this year? Was he or she exposed to dangerous levels of radiation? More and more dentists and orthodontists are using an imaging device that delivers significantly higher doses of radiation than regular X-rays. While the machine’s promoters claim that this technology is a safe way to obtain highly detailed images of a patient’s mouth and skull, other health experts are concerned about the cumulative effects of radiation from these scans, and think they shouldn’t be used routinely.