Should you skip your annual physical?

stethoscope
Stethoscope, a tool used to listen to a heart beat.
Amanda Snyder

In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, Ezekiel Emanuel said "the annual physical exam is basically worthless:"

Further, researchers have long noted that screening healthy people who have no complaints is a pretty ineffective way to improve people's health. If you screen thousands of people, maybe you'll find tens whose exams suggest they might have a disease. And then upon further tests, you'll find it is really only a few individuals who truly have something. And of those individuals, maybe one or two actually gain a health benefit from an early diagnosis...

Some are actually hurt by physicals, because healthy patients who undergo an exam sometimes end up with complications and pain from further screening or confirmatory tests.

Emanuel, oncologist and a vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, joins The Daily Circuit to discuss skipping your annual physical.

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