“Some cancer experts see overdiagnosis and question early detection” By Melinda Beck, The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re not finding enough of the really lethal cancers, and we’re finding too many of the slow-moving ones that probably don’t need to be found,” says Laura Esserman, a breast-cancer surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco.

Early detection has long been seen as a powerful weapon against breast cancer, but is it? While early-stage cancers are more treatable than those at advanced stages, the surge in screening via diagnostic tools equipped to find ever-smaller abnormalities have led to some of these abnormalities in prostate, breast, thyroid, and other tissues to be labeled as cancers (overdiagnosis) and treated aggressively, even though they may never have caused harm (overtreatment). However, even doctors who accept the idea of overdiagnosis say it poses a dilemma when it comes to treating individual patients. More »

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