publication date: May. 10, 2019

Trials & Tribulations Estimating overdiagnosis is hard—we need all the help we can get Ruth Etzioni

Ruth Etzioni

Division of Public Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Center for Early Detection Advanced Research, Knight Cancer Institute

 

Roman Gulati

Roman Gulati

Division of Public Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

 

Over the past decade there has been much consternation about overdiagnosis, the detection of cancers that would not have been diagnosed without screening.

The growing awareness of the problem of overdiagnosis has gone hand in hand with a collective sobering up about early detection.

The reality is that the size of the population that stands to benefit is much smaller than the population exposed to potential harm. Only a small minority of those screened for any given cancer have their lives extended by the test, since only a small minority would have died of that cancer.

At the same time, every person screened is exposed to potential harms from overdiagnoses and false-positive tests.

Continue reading Estimating overdiagnosis is hard—we need all the help we can get

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