A brief Norwegian review has highlighted an unbalanced surge in publications about the benefits of the earlier detection of diseases (which are typically taken unquestioningly as a “given”). The authors allege that articles discussing the benefits of early detection appear to occur twice as often as those mentioning the potential harms.
“The damage of the surge is unknown. We do not fully know the benefits and harms of early detection, in terms of lives saved and avoided suffering, increased health anxiety, more disease (overdiagnosis, medicalisation), and unnecessary and harmful treatment”.
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Hofmann, B [and] Skolbekken, J-A. (2017). Surge in publications on early detection. British Medical Journal (BMJ). May 8th 2017; 356: j2102.