Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Putting emotion into our medical decisions

Have you ever gone to the doctor and insisted that you needed a specific test or treatment? You were so wrapped up in the emotions of moment and the ailment that you were not being rational.

You aren't alone. Emotion often leads us to choose unwisely. An example of this is the mammogram decision. Why have one? What if the result is bad? (This is the reason I will never go to a psychic.) Who wants to get bad news. And then the worst, what if the bad result is wrong and its actually nothing. That would be a false positive.

But apparently women do not think about the risk of false positive when they have mammograms.

"American women face conflicting advice about whether to be screened for breast cancer, at what age and how often. The decisions they make are often more strongly influenced by fear or a friend’s experience than by a thorough understanding of the benefits and risks of mammography."

But before we have any test or procedure, we need to be sure we educate ourselves on the possible outcomes and potential problems. In the case of breast cancer, it can be anything from a false positive to over treatment of a cancer. We just need to know first and make a smart decision.

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