And this was a relatively good outcome.
All but two of the nearly 400 generalists who responded to the survey had seen such cascades as physicians, and most had even had them as patients or as patients’ family members. Follow-up phone calls, repeated tests and office visits after incidental findings were commonplace. Most doctors had seen cascades lead to invasive tests, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
For some of these findings, doctors don’t have research to guide us on how often it might cause problems, or on what to do next. Even when we have this information, we are often swayed to do more (after all, doctors are selected and trained to be thorough, to find The Answer.
When I talked to Lily after her stress test came back normal, she told me (and I wanted to believe) that part of her felt relief alongside the regret.
To extend the analogy past its breaking point: Often, you should just say no to the cookie. Other times, call it quits after the glass of milk. And be prepared, every so often, to add another profile to your Netflix account.