Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stop taking pictures of me please!

I hate how I look in pictures so I am never enthused when someone starts snapping away. I have been known to make my mean face on occasion when included in a picture. I like taking pictures of things - my cat, garden, things I find in nature, etc. But I really do not like it when doctors want pictures of my insides!

In late 2008, I started having back pains. They took x-rays, tried PT and then an MRI and found all sorts of fun things going on with my spine. Five years later I asked my pain management doctor if there was any reason to do any more imaging and he said no because there was no reason to believe anything had changed. I can live with that.

But to my other doctors, do we have enough pictures yet? I would be happy if my visits to the Radiology Department could be limited. And there is proof that some hospitals take too many pictures.

Back in 1981 with my first cancer go-round, they took x-rays and thought there was a thingy (that's the technical term) in my lungs. So for the next 30 or so years, I had an annual chest x-ray to see if the thingy had changed. Then all of a sudden my doctors told me that it was no longer protocol to do annual chest x-rays in cases like me. (Thank you!)

The real concerns are in cases of breast and prostate cancer - how many images are needed? Do we really need that many? And the answer is no we don't. A study looked at how many X-ray, MR, PET, CT and bone scans for breast and prostate cancer. While it seems that use has gone down in recent years, there is some evidence they are still overused. Its a case of 'just because we can, doesn't mean we should'.

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, should they do more scans to see if there is cancer anywhere else if you have no symptoms? Or how many should they do? How often should they follow up with more pictures?

Its not just time, expense, stress on the patients, but also does it really matter? If there is no reason, don't bother. Thanks. I'm good without more pictures.

1 comment:

Mandi said...

There is definitely a balance. My doctor prefers to limit them, I know some seem to overdo them. I like knowing what is going on, so I prefer to overdo it if I can. The anxiety sucks though. :-/