When screening isn’t supported by evidence

Gary Schwitzer: “Bad things can happen when screening recommendations are made for populations for whom there is not clear-cut evidence of benefit. False positive results lead to more testing, more expense, and more anxiety. The additional testing may carry its own potential harms. The more you look, the more you may find some forms of ‘pseudo-disease’ — early hints of possible problems without clear evidence about whether they will go on to create real trouble or not. Many of these people will go on to be inappropriately labeled with “disease” and treated.”

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