My healthy future: overdiagnosis
Could a major push towards personalised prevention will increase harms caused by anxiety, investigation and unnecessary treatments in many individuals?
Despite aiming to benefit people found to be at risk of disease or with early disease, it seems possible, even probable, that a major push towards personalised prevention will increase the harms caused by anxiety, investigation and unnecessary treatments in many individuals.
Many would caution that the benefits of personalised prevention might be offset as users are made anxious and undertake actions and interventions that might not eventually be beneficial to them. The phenomena through which this occurs are often gathered together under the general theme of ‘overdiagnosis’ or ‘too much medicine’.
In this report, we are concerned with the many ways in which harm arises from activities grouped under the theme. We have chosen to use the term overdiagnosis as the overarching label.
By Emma Johnson, Tanya Brigden, Alison Hall, Ron Zimmern and Hilary Burton