Articles on Overdiagnosis

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Two new studies are bursting the bubble about the value of screening men for prostate cancer. from www.shutterstock.com

Prostate cancer testing: has the bubble burst?

Two major studies cast doubt on the value of screening for prostate cancer, yet it continues regardless.
Medical panels are constantly lowering thresholds across many diseases, which results in more and more healthy people being diagnosed as sick. José Martín/Unsplash

How to rein in the widening disease definitions that label more healthy people as sick

More of us are labelled as sick with the constantly changing diagnostic cut-offs for diseases. Now an international expert panel has drafted a list of things to consider before setting new thresholds.
Among the 61 recommendations is: ‘Don’t order chest x-rays in patients with uncomplicated acute bronchitis’. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Antibiotics for colds, x-rays for bronchitis, internal exams with pap tests – the latest list of tests to question

Harm doesn’t just come in the form of side-effects or further testing. The "cons" of any treatment also include the costs, which can be financial, emotional, and the costs of the individual’s time.
A snapshot of 2015: health reviews, Health Check series, thalidomide series, Medicare versus private health insurance. AAP; Shutterstock; Julian Smith/; Dave Hunt/AAP

2015, the year that was: Health + Medicine

This was the year of the health review – mental health care, Medicare, private health insurance, the pharmacy industry ... and the list goes on. But how much movement was there on policy?
An independent UK inquiry estimated that perhaps one in five of the cancers detected via breast cancer screening are overdiagnosed. Army Medicine/Flickr

Most people want to know risk of overdiagnosis, but aren’t told

Researchers have been talking about the dangers of overdiagnosis for some time. But now a national survey shows most people aren't told about the risk it poses to their health – and they want to know.
Most people overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of medical intervention. Barbara M./Flickr

Great expectations: our naive optimism about medical care

“It might do me some good and it won’t hurt to give it a go.” How often have you heard a phrase like this? Most people have naïve optimism about medical care. That’s the finding of a systematic review…
Whether the harms of statins outweigh their benefits depends on how you balance them up. AJ Cann/Flickr

Statins saga shows some of the perils of modern medicine

A panel convened by medical journal BMJ to investigate whether it was right to correct rather than retract two pieces featuring a mistake about side effects from statins has endorsed the journal’s decision…

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