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What Is the Right Cancer Screening Rate?

Russell Harris, MD, MPH
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University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (Harris)

Requests for Single Reprints: Russell Harris, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Medical School Building, CB 7508, Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7508.

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Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(9):732-734. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-132-9-200005020-00008
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Recent commentaries have described growing concern about quality of care in the United States (12). The problem of “medical mistakes” is getting increased media attention. However, the issue of quality is not new to physicians, who are trained to always do the best for their patients. What is new is the way that we are now asked to think and act about quality. Cancer screening—specifically Papanicolaou (Pap) smears and mammography—provides an interesting case study of the old and new ways of thought.

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