Intended for healthcare professionals


Screening: from marvel to liability?

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 03 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:0

The life cycle of a new drug is classically “best thing ever,” “rather a lot of side effects,” “bloody useless,” to “useful in some circumstances for some patients.” All new technologies may experience a similar cycle, and we are seeing it with screening. The screening era began with a wave of enthusiasm, reflecting perhaps the deeply held belief that “prevention is better than cure.” The wave may have been amplified by “cure” often not being available and by a conviction that prevention is cheaper than treatment. Then came reports of failures to …

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