American Cancer Society Considers the Risks in Screening
The American Cancer Society is shifting its stand on breast and prostate cancer screening, the New York Times reports. The agency that once fully backed screening is backing off a bit on its support partly as a result of a new analysis that appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association . Early detection from breast and prostate cancer screening has not led to a decrease in later-stage cancers that matches the dramatic increase in early-stage cancers found through screening, according to the analysis. That suggests screening is finding some cancers that would never have progressed to be deadly but missing more dangerous cancers. "The advantages of screening have been exaggerated," ACS chief medical officer Otis Brawley tells the Times. Screening does prevent cancer deaths, Brawley says. But the society's new message on breast and prostate cancer screening points to the risk of overtreatment, according to the Times.
New Item on the School Cafeteria Menu: A Calorie Limit?
The Institute of Medicine has new recommendations for the federal programs that provide breakfast and lunch in primary and secondary schools. For the first time, the IOM endorses calorie limits, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson reports. The IOM report says lunches shouldn't be more than 650 calories in grades K through five, 700 for middle schoolers, and 850 for grades nine through 12. Breakfasts, meantime, should range from 500 to 600 calories, depending on the grade.
Childhood obesity is "often referred to as an epidemic in both the medical and community settings," the IOM report notes. And since it's so tough for adults to lose weight and change other lifestyle habits, the hope is that setting better eating patterns among kids and teens may be the best approach for combating obesity and related diseases. Read more.
These Hospitals Excel, but Not at Satisfying Patients
Should you face a possible trip to the hospital, wouldn't you like to know what recent inpatients thought of the place? You don't have to hunt down people to ask. For nearly 3,800 U.S. hospitals—the vast majority of the nation's centers—you can now go to the facility's individual page at America's Best Hospitals and click on the "What Patients Say" tab to see how satisfied patients were. These hospitals now sample a year's worth of recently discharged patients and ask them to respond to a survey consisting of a standardized set of questions and multiple-choice answers.
What overall mark do patients give America's top hospitals? Among elite centers in the Best Hospitals rankings that reported patient satisfaction survey results for the year ended December 2008, U.S. News separates the best in overall patient satisfaction from the worst. See the overall worst hospitals for patient satisfaction, which had the highest percentages of patients who gave them a 6 or below (10=highest, 0=lowest).
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