Is the problem that everything is a diagnosis?

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Journal Article

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Doust, J., & Glasziou, P. (2013). Is the problem that everything is a diagnosis? Australian Family Physician, 42(12), 856-859.

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2013 HERDC submission. FoR code: 110399; 111717

© Copyright, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2012




Background: Overdiagnosis is the diagnosis of ‘illnesses’ that would never have caused patients harm but potentially exposes them to treat-ments where the risks outweigh the benefits. The problem of overdiagnosis is affecting an increasing proportion of the population.

Objective: Overdiagnosis is occurring in several different ways: by changes in the definition or threshold of disease, labelling of risk factors as diseases, early detection from both deliberate screening programs and incidental detection (‘incidentalomas’), and the medicalisation of life, particularly in psychiatry.

Discussion : General practitioners often carry the burden of care for patients who have been overdiagnosed. It is important that general practitioners are aware of the potential harm of overdiagnosis, particularly through early detection and aggressive management of early disease

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This document has been peer reviewed.