In a report published in British Medical Journal (BMJ) Ray Moynihan, Senior Research Fellow at Bond University in Australia, highlights the significant threats that over-diagnosis poses to human health.
The report comes after an international conference “Preventing Overdiagnosis” was announced for September, 2013 in the United States. The conference will be hosted by The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in partnership with the BMJ, Consumer Reports, and Bond University, Australia.
According to Moynihan, the conference is timely because “as evidence mounts that we’re harming the healthy, concern about overdiagnosis is giving way to concerted action on how to prevent it.”
Over-diagnosis occurs when a person is diagnosed and treated for a “disease” that will never cause them harm or result in death. There has been is mounting evidence that several individuals are overdiagnosed and overtreated for a wide range of conditions. The researchers note that tiny “abnormalities” that will never progress are being detected in people by ever-more sensitive tests. Lower treatment thresholds and widening disease definitions means that more individuals are unnecessarily receiving life-long treatments that will fail to benefit the majority of them.
According to the researchers, the cost of these unnecessary treatments could be used to prevent and treat people with actual illnesses.[related_posts limit=”5″]