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How to Nudge People Toward Smarter Cancer-Screening Decisions

When it comes to cancer screening, there’s no one correct answer that applies to every scenario. Different people face different risk factors, and you can’t screen every person for every possible type of cancer, so it’s a matter of cost-benefit analysis — some types of screenings are more likely to lead to potentially harmful false positives, for example, while others, if they detect cancer, will detect slow-growing forms of it that are very unlikely to kill or seriously harm the patient before something else does, so determining the “right” amount of cancer screening is a really difficult public-health challenge. There’s also a psychological component to all this, of course. Lots of people don’t get screened for given cancers when they should because they’re scared of what doctors might find, are distracted by other responsibilities, or deterred by a lack of easy access to affordable health care. ….[READ]

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