Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Incidental findings

Changing the implied consent model for investigations is not easy

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 04 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1940
  1. Santhanam Sundar, consultant oncologist
  1. Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. sundar{at}

Lessing highlights the significant distress that can result from unexpected incidental findings on follow-up imaging.1

Unnecessary distress can be caused by expected but unwanted findings, since early detection of disease relapse, at an asymptomatic stage, is not always beneficial. For example, a Cochrane meta-analysis found that more intensive follow‐up of cancer survivors made little or no difference …

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