Expert: Over-Diagnosis A Threat To Health

0 Shares

ROBINA, Australia (UPI) — Over-diagnosis, treating people at-risk of disease as if they had the disease is a significant threat to human health, an Australian researcher says.

Ray Moynihan, senior research fellow at Bond University in Australia, said over-diagnosis poses a significant threat to human health by labeling healthy people as sick and wasting resources on unnecessary care.

In an article in the British Medical Journal, Moynihan, Jenny Doust also of Bond University and David Henry of the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada wrote many factors are driving over-diagnosis, including commercial and professional vested interests, legal incentives and cultural issues.

Growing scientific evidence suggests many are over-diagnosed for many conditions, including asthma, high blood pressure, breast, prostate, thyroid and kidney cancers.

For example, a recent systematic review published in the British Medical Journal suggested that up to 1-in-3 breast cancers detected via screening may be over-diagnosed — women without symptoms are diagnosed and then treated for a disease that won’t actually cause them any symptoms. At the same time, the women might suffer from complications and illness from the treatment.

Moynihan argued the main problem of over-diagnosis lies in a strong cultural belief in early detection, fed by deep faith in medical technology.

“Increasingly we’ve come to regard simply being ‘at risk’ of future disease as being a disease in its own right,” Moynihan said in a statement.

 

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.