Cancer overdiagnosis – sending you to chemo when you don’t need it
Cancer Cancer Prevention Cancer Screening

Cancer overdiagnosis – sending you to chemo when you don’t need it

Dr. Talia Henkle
Dr. Talia Henkle

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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