Healthcare News & Insights

New screening guidelines — and the questions they raise in patients’ minds

The recently changed recommendations for women to seek breast and cervical cancer screenings less often are raising questions, as well as hackles.

Health care providers should be prepared for patients’ questions for which there may not be easy answers.

Many patients are confused and angry. And some suspect a conspiracy to cut costs by denying women needed tests.

The best advice is to counter those emotions with facts, while letting patients know you have empathy for their concerns. The two key areas health providers should be ready to address are that many patients:

  1. believe that more testing is always better, overlooking the costs (financial and emotional) of test procedures and false positives, not to mention potential complications from unneeded procedures.
  2. don’t fully understand the accuracy, scope and limitations of cancer screenings and then overemphasize their role relative to preventative care and overall wellness.

We’ve included some jargon-free links to resources explaining the reasons for the changes to the breast and cervical cancer screening guidelines — and how the changes will actually affect patients’ care.

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