The Global Problem With Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

Now, two new studies published Monday in the medical journal TheBMJ highlight the global problem with overtreatment in both breast cancer and heart disease.

A team of researchers conclude that hypertension is being overtreated in people with mild cases of the disease. The researchers write that about 40% of adults worldwide have hypertension, and more than half of those people have mild cases of the disease (meaning they’re low risk and don’t have existing cardiovascular disease). But more than half of people with mild hypertension are being treated with blood pressure-lowering drugs–even though the research on whether this reduces cardiovascular-related disease and death is not established. The researchers argue that the practice is unnecessary and costs $32 billion each year in the U.S. alone.

Instead of recommending lifestyle modifications proven to work, like cutting back on alcohol and exercising more, many doctors opt for drugs because they want to do something right away …..

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The healthcare scam in China

SHANGHAI – Chinese authorities have detained 160 members of a criminal gang in the eastern city of Shanghai after the group swindled patients by luring them to fake medical clinics and selling them over-priced drugs, Shanghai police said on Tuesday.

The gang cheated over 500 victims out of 1.7 million yuan (S$340,000), employing corrupt doctors to inflate drug prices and prescribe large amounts of medicines to patients, the city’s police department said in a posting on its official microblog.

Corruption in China’s healthcare system is rife, with a scarcity of doctors and bribery pushing up the cost of care and creating tension between healthcare workers and patients.

The healthcare scam, which often targeted migrants who had come to Shanghai for treatment, is the largest of its kind to hit the city, according to a number of official Chinese media reports from the Shanghai Daily paper and Xinhua news agency. They added that of those detained, 114 people had been arrested.

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Breast cancer survival rate poor

ALMOST 50% of Malaysian women with breast cancer do not survive, said Ipoh Hospital surgery head Dr Stephen Jacob.

Citing a survey by Globocan 2000, Dr Stephen added that women in their 30s were just as prone to the disease as those in their 50s.

“Breast cancer is on the rise,” he said in a statement recently.

Dr Stephen said 20% of all cancer patients in Ipoh Hospital suffered from breast cancer.

“Last year alone, 189 patients were admitted for breast cancer treatment here,” he said.

One reason the disease claimed many lives, added Dr Stephen, was because many patients sought traditional treatment first before admitting themselves into the hospitals.

“By the time they seek medical help, the disease is often at a late stage,” he said, adding that early treatment and awareness could help stop the spread of the disease.

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