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Population based screening - the difficulty of how to do more good than harm and how to achieve it

Zwahlen, M. and Low, N. and Borisch, B. and Egger, M. and Künzli, N. and Obrist, R. and Paccaud, F. and Zybach, U. and Probst-Hensch, N. M.. (2010) Population based screening - the difficulty of how to do more good than harm and how to achieve it. Swiss Medical Weekly, 140. w13061.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5842986

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Abstract

Screening people without symptoms of disease is an attractive idea. Screening allows early detection of disease or elevated risk of disease, and has the potential for improved treatment and reduction of mortality. The list of future screening opportunities is set to grow because of the refinement of screening techniques, the increasing frequency of degenerative and chronic diseases, and the steadily growing body of evidence on genetic predispositions for various diseases. But how should we decide on the diseases for which screening should be done and on recommendations for how it should be implemented? We use the example of prostate cancer and genetic screening to show the importance of considering screening as an ongoing population-based intervention with beneficial and harmful effects, and not simply the use of a test. Assessing whether screening should be recommended and implemented for any named disease is therefore a multi-dimensional task in health technology assessment. There are several countries that already use established processes and criteria to assess the appropriateness of screening. We argue that the Swiss healthcare system needs a nationwide screening commission mandated to conduct appropriate evidence-based evaluation of the impact of proposed screening interventions, to issue evidence-based recommendations, and to monitor the performance of screening programmes introduced. Without explicit processes there is a danger that beneficial screening programmes could be neglected and that ineffective, and potentially harmful, screening procedures could be introduced
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Chronic Disease Epidemiology > Air Pollution and Health (Künzli)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin > Air Pollution and Health (Künzli)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Chronic Disease Epidemiology > Genetic Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases (Probst-Hensch)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin > Genetic Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases (Probst-Hensch)
UniBasel Contributors:Künzli, Nino and Probst Hensch, Nicole
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:EMH Schweizerischer Arzteverlag
ISSN:1424-7860
e-ISSN:1424-3997
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:08 Sep 2017 12:15
Deposited On:08 Jun 2012 06:43

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