Relating published evidence to individual patients

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 05 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:0

One of medicine's greatest challenges is to relate what you read to how you respond to the patient in front of you. Imagine a 60 year old man asking you whether he should be screened for prostate cancer. What do you say? Steven Woolf considers this question in an editorial (p 989).

The enthusiast for evidence based medicine would probably advise the man not to bother. A test for prostate specific antigen produces many false positives. A third of tumours detected to do not progress. There is no good evidence …

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