Unnecessary Medical Tests Common in Northeast

Mar 18, 2015

If you receive health care in the Northeast, you may be more likely to undergo medical tests that you don't need. That's according to a new study out of New York University.

Credit Phillip Jeffrey, CC

Researchers surveyed patients with low-risk breast and prostate cancer and found that on average more than 40 percent of them received imaging tests that were expensive and unnecessary. And the figure was higher in the Northeast than elsewhere. Dr. Danil Makarov, the study's lead investigator, says imaging rarely proved useful for patients with those types of cancer.            

"Not only are you paying for the initial test, not only is the patient wasting his or her time to go to the initial test, but it’s almost certain not to yield anything that’s going to affect how you’re ultimately going to treat the patient."

Researchers say the practice is widely overused, but difficult to phase out.