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False positives and indolent diseases - The Galveston County Daily News : Guest Columns

October 31, 2014

False positives and indolent diseases

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 6:44 am, Fri Aug 9, 2013.

The National Cancer Institute made news recently when a group of scientists recommended changing the name of some disease states, no longer calling them “cancers.” Its goal was to address the problem of overdiagnosis.

The ethical ideal of shared decision-making means patients should be able to be involved in medical decisions about their care. These decisions include not just “big ticket” items like surgery, but also supposedly routine measures such as screening tests. To know their choices about screening, patients need to be aware of what overdiagnosis is and how it’s different from false positive results.

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