The primary purpose of screening tests is to detect early disease or risk factors for disease in large numbers of apparently healthy individuals. To justify their cost, screening tests must be able to detect a high number of cases of preclinical disease in the screened population.
Treatment is more effective during this stage than when the cancer has become invasive. On the other hand, lung cancer has a poor prognosis regardless of the stage at which treatment is initiated. Early diagnosis and treatment appear to prolong life little more than therapy after symptoms have developed.
If prevalence of the condition or disease is low, screening will not identify many cases, plaque psoriasis rendering the test less cost-effective. In addition to cost considerations, some tests are not without risks of their own or discomfort. To justify administering these tests to the population, the potential harm to the patient if the disease is not diagnosed must outweigh the distress or pain of the test. Pseudodisease is a condition detected by screening that does not require treatment because it will not adversely affect the patient’s life.
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Treatment of diseases at their earlier stages should be more effective than treatment begun after the development of symptoms. For example, cancer of the uterine cervix develops slowly, taking more than a decade for the cancer cells to progress to a phase of invasiveness. During this preinvasive stage, the cancer is usually asymptomatic but can be detected by screening using the Pap smear.
- This test measures many different parts of your blood, as discussed in the following paragraphs.
- The CBC can help detect blood diseases and disorders, such as anemia, infections, clotting problems, blood cancers, and immune system disorders.
- Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the test you’re having.
- Your doctor will let you know how to prepare for blood tests.
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Screening to detect early stage lung cancer using currently available techniques would not be beneficial. Screening refers to the application of a medical procedure or test to people who as yet have no symptoms of a particular disease, for the purpose of determining their likelihood of having the disease.
If pseudodisease conditions such as cancers are treated, the patient may be considered “cured” because he or she died from a cause other than cancer. But designating such outcomes as “cures” is erroneous because the cancer—even ifuntreated—would not have killed the patient before the time that he or she actually died of other causes.
Type I pseudodisease refers to conditions that might not progress to symptomatic disease and may even regress. Type II pseudodisease is an indolent, slowly progressive disease found in conditions with a long detectable preclinical phase.