An aggressive policy of over-diagnosis of cancer has led to many patients being treated stringently and aggressively even for minor conditions that may be in the premalignant stage and may pose no threat to their safety. According to experts, such over-diagnosis can have devastating health consequences.
The experts warning about over-diagnosis are advisors to the National Cancer Institute, and their thoughts were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The commentary has generated a lot of interest, especially among California medical malpractice lawyers as well as the medical community that stringently works towards diagnosing and over treating even the most minor conditions that pose no threat to patients.
According to the experts, many patients choose aggressive treatment strategies when they are diagnosed with premalignant conditions that pose no danger to their health, and may pose no risk of developing into a malignant tumor in the future.
One particular example is a condition called ductal carcinoma in situ, which is one of the more frequent breast-related premalignant conditions in the country. Every year, thousands of women who are diagnosed with this condition, panic and choose to have a surgical removal of the breast as treatment. This premalignant condition in fact may pose no danger to the patient, and the breast removal may be unnecessary.
According to the experts, premalignant conditions that pose no threat to the patient, and may not have any chance of developing into a malignant tumor in the future, must simply be left alone and not be treated aggressively.
The risk of over-diagnosis is likely to increase with more widespread cancer screening. The researchers believe it's important for patients as well as doctors and the general public to be aware of the health risks from over-diagnosis.