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What You Should Know about Medical Screening


University of Victoria health researcher Alan Cassels, author the book Selling Sickness, investigates and explains the pros and cons of various medical tests sold as ways to detect or prevent illness in people who seem healthy. "I started by looking at the marketing. Who is pushing what kind of screening?" explains Cassels. "Then I look at what does the science say? What do the experts say? And that's where the story is, the gap between the marketing and the science."

In This Series


Alan Cassels

Do You Really Need that Medical Test?

Today begins a series on hidden risks of medical screening, and how its benefits can be oversold.

By Alan Cassels, 20 Jun 2011


Heart with stethoscope

Welcome to the Heart Scanning Industrial Complex

The truth about tests that claim to help keep your ticker ticking. Second in a series.

By Alan Cassels, 28 Jun 2011


Child with DNA strand

Screen Your Genes? Be Careful

Genetic tests will more likely shake you up than settle your illness risk concerns.

By Alan Cassels, 14 Jul 2011


Teen Screen: teen mental health

Teen Screen: Should We Be Testing for Mental Illness?

The push is on to early identify youth with mental disorders. Do we really know how? Fourth in a series on medical screening.

By Alan Cassels, 25 Jul 2011


A doctor and patient

Screening for Prostate Cancer: 'Poster Child' for Overdiagnosis

Before you get that test, know the potential problems as well as payoffs. Fifth in a series on medical screening.

By Alan Cassels, 10 Aug 2011


Mammogram, breast x-ray

Breast X-Rays: The Pros and Cons May Surprise You

Mammographies save lives, but not as often as you might think. Know the downsides. Last in a series on medical screening.

By Alan Cassels, 15 Aug 2011