In an article dated August 29, 2016, doctors and researchers debate whether they should disclose to patients minor abnormalities that are incidentally found during an imaging procedure (such as an MRI or CT scan). On the one hand, researchers say that doctors are going “overboard” on disclosing low-risk findings that lead to overtreatment and unnecessary worry by the patient. However, on the other hand, a decision not to follow up on an incidental finding can have serious consequences. For one patient, kidney cancer was incidentally found and led to early treatment that arguably saved his life. Although the professionals disagree on whether to treat or not to treat, most agree that guidelines are needed to help doctors make the difficult decision.
Excerpt from article:
Often there is “little benefit” to patients knowing about minor, low-risk findings, and it can have significant financial, psychological and clinical consequences, they say. Failure to follow up incidental findings can come back to haunt some patients, other experts say. . .
To read full article: When a Medical Test Leads to Another, and Another