Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: thyroid disease

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 09 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7596
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Our sense of wellness is one of nature’s greatest gifts to humanity. A recent review has confirmed huge overdiagnosis of breast cancer through screening. So, over the past 20 years 80 000 women in the UK (equivalent to every person eligible for screening in Edinburgh) have been falsely diagnosed with cancer, enduring surgery and chemotherapy.1 This is the theft of wellness on the grandest of scales. Overdiagnosis is everywhere,2 and a problem still hugely underappreciated.

Are we overdiagnosing thyroid disease? Subclinical hypothyroidism is where thyroid hormone …

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