More than 10,000 cases of cancer of the prostate, the walnut-sized gland that sits just below the bladder, are diagnosed every year in the UK. It is the second-most common cause of cancer deaths
If your doctor suspects that you have an autoimmune disorder such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma, he may arrange to have you take an antinuclear antibody (ANA) test.
SCREENING: No, it doesn’t save lives
Ultrasound scans can predict Down’s syndrome. A nuchal scan measures the depth of the dark fluid-filled space at the back of the baby’s neck at 10-13 weeks of pregnancy. If the space is thicker than usual, your baby may be at risk of Down’s.
What’s it for?
Barium enemas are given to test for a range of disorders of the lower intestinal tract, including cancer, diverticulitis, polyps, irritable colon, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
* Avoid Doppler, particularly the duplex variety for detecting the baby’s heartbeat and pulse; the ‘Doptone’ fetal-pulse detector is a commonly used handheld device. The B-mode has a higher safety margin
There are quite a few alternatives to barium enemas, the best known of which is colonoscopy. This involves passing a fibreoptic cable up into the colon to view the colonic wall. Colonoscopy is now rapidly supplanting barium enemas
One of the things conventional medicine prides itself on is its diagnoses. But much of the credit goes not to doctors, but to the technologists who have created increasingly sophisticated ways of peering into the human body.
Yet another study confirms that routine ultrasound examination of normal women is of no benefit and the technique should be restricted to high-risk pregnancies.