Browse the glossary:
disease mongering, medicalization, pathologization,
Overdiagnosis is a side effect of screening or diagnostic tests. Screening can turn people into ‘patients’ unnecessarily, and may prompt the use of unnecessary and sometimes harmful ‘treatments’.
For example, if a cancer grows slowly enough, patients will often die from some other cause before the cancer gets big enough to produce symptoms. Detection of such cancers will not help and will often result in unnecessary treatment and side effects. This is particularly likely with small cancers in older people, such as prostate cancer in older men.
If you feel that this definition hasn't helped you to understand the term, click on our monkey to let us know.