Editor's Choice

Pseudodisease

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjusa.03040001 (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E206
  1. Steven H Woolf, MD, MPH

    From BMJ USA 2003;April:178

    “Is cure possible for those for whom it is necessary, and is cure necessary for those in whom it is possible?” Whitmore once asked this about prostate cancer. Autopsy studies had shown that elderly men who died of other causes often had histologic evidence of prostate cancer, latent disease that was clinically silent while these men were alive. Introduction of a screening test (prostate-specific antigen) in the late 1980s brought an “epidemic” of prostate cancer to the United States in the early 1990s. Now, prostate cancer ranks as the most common non-dermatologic cancer in American men.

    How many of these cancers represent “pseudodisease,” pathology that poses …

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