AARP Bulletin Advises Members Against Medical Tests

active seniors

I wonder how many patients Elizabeth Agnvall has sent to an early grave today? The latest AARP Bulletin screams the headline- Doctors say: Skip These Tests! “Doctors warn that some of the common medical tests routinely taken by Americans do more harm than good, waste billions of dollars and could endanger your health or even your life…” Are you kidding me?

On page 12 she lists yearly EKG’s, PSA for prostate cancer, yearly medical exams, annual PAP smears, bone density scans before age 65, colonoscopy after age 75 and etc. She puts forth the premise that prostate cancer is slow growing and you would die from something else first. Where did she get her information? Most people will not read the quantifications she puts in her article and will just read the sensationalist headlines. I can just hear it now “But, AARP says I don’t need to do that test now. It’s more harmful than helpful.” Yes, my mother’s voice still plays in my head. My mother got most of her medical information and diagnosis from Readers Digest. 

The author of the article did leave out the mammogram controversy and for that I am grateful. At least maybe that will not be affected. However, you need a yearly visit to get your order for the test.  Most people don’t need an excuse to NOT see the doctor. My family has lost 3 young individuals to cancer in the last 18 months because they didn’t see the doctor and ignored the symptoms. it is totally irresponsible for AARP to support such a premise. Are we all falling into the theory, becoming more and more prevalent, that if you are over the age of 70 you should be given the boot and make way for those that are younger.  More people than ever are living longer and having good quality of life. Technology is providing more and more answers and the average age of our population is moving forward (or is that upward?). Others believe this is a ploy and supported by the insurance companies to lower their costs and increase the profits. I do know that we will have a reckoning in this country when we believe that we can pay for everything that is wrong with the health of this nation with taxpayers dollars. Certainly there are some unnecessary medical tests being ordered and performed. Some physicians are more guilty than others. I heard one physician describe it as a bowl of Jello. You couldn’t get your arms around it. But, advising patients to stay away from the very tests and visits that could save their life is not the right way.

 

The Medical Marijuana Debate or Do You Need a Reefer?

The debate rages on in the media about the benefits and complications of legalizing medical marijuana. We have seen the long lines in Colorado already for those buying for recreational use. I have never used medically or recreationally but many of my friends and acquaintances have done so. I recently lost my sister-in-law to stage IV breast cancer and I tried to convince her to use it to increase her appetite and promote a feeling of well being. She refused as she could not change her attitudes either toward it’s use as amarijuana leaf and gavel medicinal herb. When you are dying, no one has the right to tell you what you should do or what you should use to medicate against the end result. One of my BFF’s from high school is now using it during her chemotherapy for bladder cancer. It is illegal in our state and she has a friend that sends it to her from one of those states where it is legal. How could I deprive her of that as she says it is what keeps her going with the nausea. I never asked her if she has a continual craving for Twinkies.

However, it was not ok for my children to self medicate for feelings they could not handle or other excuses they had. My opinion is vested in the 60’s and all that Cheech and Chong imprinted in all of us. Drugs, sex, and rock and roll was not my cup of tea. There is legislation pending in 15 states for 2014 concerning the utilization of medical marijuana. Will we or won’t we be facing this conundrum? If it were a cure or help for Alzheimer’s would we give to our parents who need it? My problem is the past…literally the past. I need to stop the 1960’s tape from playing in my head and move ahead. So, all I can do at this point is sit back and see what happens. But I have my Twinkies ready.