Cancer survivor or victim of overdiagnosis?

Cancer Survivor or Victim of Overdiagnosis? H Gilbert Welch, The  New York Times, 21 November 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/opinion/cancer-survivor-or-victim-of-overdiagnosis.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

This New York Times article by H Gilbert Welch describes research by Archie Bleyer and himself showing immense harms from the introduction of  breast screening (about 1.5 million additional women receiving a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer but no effect on mortality). ‘If it (screening) does not advance the time of diagnosis of late-stage cancer, it won’t reduce mortality. In fact, we found no change in the number of women with life-threatening metastatic breast cancer. He suggests health providers ‘look less hard for tiny cancers and precancers and put more effort into differentiating between consequential and inconsequential cancers. We must redesign screening protocols to reduce overdiagnosis or stop population-wide screening completely. Screening could be targeted instead to those at the highest risk of dying from breast cancer — women with strong family histories or genetic predispositions to the disease. These are the women who are most likely to benefit and least likely to be overdiagnosed.’

H. Gilbert Welch is a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and an author of “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.”

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About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
This entry was posted in books, Breast Cancer, Campaigns, Compassion in healthcare, patient safety, Screening, Screening Mammography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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