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Overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer: Is this not an ethical issue for pathologists as well as radiologists and clinicians?

from Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

In 1993, Black and Welch published a prophetic article that foretold the diagnostic imaging-induced conundrum now known as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis is defined as detection of a medical condition that, if left undiagnosed, would cause no harm. Compelled by the above-cited authors and my own experiences, I advocate discussions of cancer overdiagnosis with medical students, house officers and faculty. The potential harms of cancer overdiagnosis include not only unnecessary surgery and complications, but also the emotional and financial tribulations incurred by cancer diagnosis and indefinite follow-up. more


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