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The term “overdiagnosis” is being widely used in the medical community. It refers to the concept that in pursuit of health, we are making people sick. Discussions on this topic are happening internationally – recent titles have included “Too much medicine” (BMJ) “Avoiding Avoidable Care” (USA) and “Less is more” (USA).
Overdiagnosis occurs when asymptomatic people are diagnosed with a disease that will not cause them to experience symptoms or early death.
A broader definition encompasses the related problems of overmedicalisation and subsequent overtreatment, diagnosis creep, shifting thresholds and disease mongering.
This module will discuss the issues around overdiagnosis with examples from the fields of cancer and cardiovascular risk factors.