In 10 seconds? While cancer screening has been key in slashing cancer mortality for multiple types of cancers, cancer overdiagnosis has been emerging as a new problem.

What do you mean by cancer “overdiagnosis”? When a person is given a cancer diagnosis for an asymptomatic tumor, that is unlikely to grow quickly or negatively impact a person’s survival, this is considered overdiagnosis (This usually happens after a preventive screening procedure). While the ethos of cancer care is frequently ‘better safe than sorry’, overdiagnosis is becoming a growing concern. For example, about 25% of breast cancers detected by mammography and about 55% of prostate cancers detected by PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing are overdiagnosed. To put it in other terms, screening can pick up tumors for which there is little benefit in treating.

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