Should You Get An Annual Pelvic Exam?

July 3, 2014 1:32 PM

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Should You Get An Annual Pelvic Exam?

There are many common practices in medicine that are completely useless. For example, it was once common for patients to get a chest X-ray as part of their yearly physical. Someone finally questioned this practice and studied its utility. It turned out that chest X-rays used to screen for cancer failed twice: they often detected non-cancerous abnormalities that led to extensive work-ups, and they failed to catch cancers. The practice has fallen into disuse.

The yearly physical exam has been a medical tradition for many decades. It is another procedure whose utility is questionable. Studies have shown it to increase costs with little benefit. But most internists still recommend them. Are we doing it just for the money?

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