Synopses & Reviews
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?
Medical screening for prostate cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and other serious diseases and conditions seem to make sense, and some types of screening are indeed useful if done on the right person at the right time. Many other such tests are questionable, however, and can even be harmful. Yet every day there are new claims of one medical screening test or another.
In this book, Alan Cassels discusses the most common and recommended types of screening and weighs the pros and cons of each. Do mammograms save lives? Is a colonoscopy necessary for everyone? Is it worth it to fork out thousands of dollars for a whole-body scan? In addition to exploring these and other questions, Cassels discusses the role of practitioners and profiteers in selling us the mantra of test early and test often."
This succinct yet authoritative guide cautions that we must go into any type of screening with our eyes wide open and gives us the tools and information we need to make informed decisions about medical screening.
About the Author
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.