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  • Cameron Oglesby

Do you really need that cervical procedure?

In 2019, more than 1.3 million women over 65 underwent a Pap test, colposcopy, or some other cervical procedure, at a total cost of $83 million.

Many, maybe most, didn’t need to.

The US Preventive Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology all agree that women can stop cervical cancer screening at age 65, so long as they’re of average risk and had adequate screening when they were younger.

So does a study conducted jointly by the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of California San Francisco and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Screenings should “follow evidence-based guidelines to prevent overspending, potential complications and patient discomfort,” explained the study’s co-author, Dr. Hunter Holt from UIC.

The study also found that 3% of women over 80 underwent at least one screening-related procedure. But, said co-author Dr. George Sawaya of UCSF, “The Society for General Internal Medicine does not recommend cancer screening to be performed in individuals with a life expectancy of less than 10 years, which corresponds to age 80 and older in the US, so there may well be over-screening.”

As with most medical procedures, cancer screening involves balancing harm and benefit. “As people get older,” Sawaya added, “the potential benefits decline and the potential harms increase.

A similar principle is at work in senior care overall. While too little care can be harmful, too much wastes money and can undermine independence. That’s why the first thing we do at Senior Insights is to conduct a thorough three-part needs assessment with potential clients and their families.

Then, and only then, do we custom-design a holistic senior care management program that fits not only their health needs, but also but also on their own individual likes and dislikes, values, priorities, preferences, schedules and interests. It’s a program with just the type and amount of care that’s needed, no more or less.

Please contact us to lean more about senior care management planning that saves the two costs of unnecessary over care: the monetary cost and the cost to independence.

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