Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease

Overview

Why wouldn't you want to be screened to see if you're at risk for cancer, heart disease, or another potentially lethal condition? After all, better safe than sorry. Right?

Not so fast, says Alan Cassels. His Seeking Sickness takes us inside the world of medical screening, where well-meaning practitioners and a profit-motivated industry offer to save our lives by exploiting our fears. He writes that promoters of screening overpromise on its benefits and downplay its harms, which ...

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Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease

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Overview

Why wouldn't you want to be screened to see if you're at risk for cancer, heart disease, or another potentially lethal condition? After all, better safe than sorry. Right?

Not so fast, says Alan Cassels. His Seeking Sickness takes us inside the world of medical screening, where well-meaning practitioners and a profit-motivated industry offer to save our lives by exploiting our fears. He writes that promoters of screening overpromise on its benefits and downplay its harms, which can range from the merely annoying to the life threatening. If you're facing a screening test for breast or prostate cancer, high cholesterol, or low testosterone, someone is about to turn you into a patient. You need to ask yourself one simple question: Am I ready for all the things that could go wrong?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Alan Cassels strips layers of expectation, hype, hargon, false-starts, and conflicts of interest off the medical screening mantra"—Nortin M. Handler, author of The Last Well Person

"...With engaging clarity backed by academic rigour, Cassels discusses a variety of popular investigational procedures...Seeking Sickness is an excellent way to start the important process of self-education."—Quill and Quire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781771000321
  • Publisher: Greystone Books
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,402,550
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Cassels is a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, and is the co-author (with Ray Moynihan) of the international bestseller Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch is a general internist whose research focuses on the problems created by medicine's efforts to detect disease early. Most of his work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening. He is the author of Should I be Tested for Cancer? and Overdiagnosed.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Dr. H. Gilbert Welch ix

Prologue: Seek and ye shall find xi

Chapter 1 The whole body scan: Who's really reaping the benefits, and why you don't need one 1

Chapter 2 Screening for eyeball pressure: Know the right questions to ask (for any screening test) and when to ask them 16

Chapter 3 Cholesterol screening, syndrome X, and heart scanning: The risk business of screening for risk 27

Chapter 4 PSA testing: What are the odds? 41

Chapter 5 Mammography screening: The politics, the promises, and the numbers 55

Chapter 6 Colon and cervix screening: Too much of a good thing? 66

Chapter 7 Mental health screening: We're crazy, just not that crazy 81

Chapter 8 Self-screening for disease: Planting the seeds of self-doubt 95

Chapter 9 Lung screening for cancer and COPD: Finding disease in every breath you take 106

Chapter 10 Bone screening: Selling screening 117

Chapter 11 Gene screening: When marketing precedes science 128

Epilogue: A conversation starter when facing screening: What happens if I do nothing? 143

Bibliography 147

Endnotes 149

Acknowledgments 167

Index 169

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