The bmj has begun a series of articles as part of their Too Much Medicine campaign. (www.bmj.com/too-much-medicine)
Who decides what are ‘normal’ limits when looking at conditions such as blood pressure, cholesterol – international consensus is needed.
The first article in the series looks at pulmonary embolism. It seems, just as breast screening greatly increases the detection of small changes that would never cause a problem in a lifetime, and has no effect on mortality, but major harms – so ‘the advent and widespread uptake of high resolution CT pulmonary angiography has greatly increased the detection of small isolated pulmonary emboli that would have caused no trouble to the patient and did not need to be found’.
A timely series, with the new (Newer) breast screening information due to be published. How can breast screening continue in its present form if women are really told the truth about the harms/benefit ration and UNDERSTAND it?
See also – Breast Cancer Screening: an ethical dilemma or an opportunity for openness? (Blennerhassett M. Quality in Primary Care. 2013;21:39-42) in which I contend that recent research has shown that breast screening causes major harms and little if any benefit; Professor Sir Mike Richards has said consent to screening should be a woman’s choice, but still advises women to attend; and General Practitioners, who are signposted as a source of information, may be paid to encourage women to comply with the screening invitation. How do they feel about this?