The Great Screening Debate
The debate over screening programmes is continual, but has been heightened recently by headlines in the UK claiming that breast cancer screening is causing many women to undergo unnecessary treatment. The provision of information has been suggested to enable women to make an informed choice about whether or not to have the screening test. But the debate of screening is not limited to breast cancer, and as diagnostic technologies improve, there are increasing numbers of potentials screening programmes available:
• Some aspects of screening are vitally important, for example the screening of donor blood for infectious diseases, which represents a significant market as this report details although the consequences of false results still have enormous implications
• The market potential is demonstrated by the companies listed here who are involved in the current trend – high-throughput screening
• Despite the challenges, screening is a lucrative market, with over 120 companies involved in hERG screening
• Prostate cancer also seems to be included in the controversy, with several reviews of evidence recently published, and testicular cancer reviews as well.
• One of the key issues is translating theoretical screening models into reality, with all the anomalies, inconsistencies and challenges that represents. This has been reviewed in paediatrics.
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