Good Health Blog

Should I test or screen or is ignorance bliss?

- November 10, 2009

Informed consent is being debated in the medical press at the moment. Preventative health screening can be done for many problems but there are risks in screening. There are ‘false positives’ (a positive result that is really not), complications of screening (pain, bruising and bleeding) and often many people have to be screened to detect the one cancer. For example, a stool specimen bowel cancer screen will detect other causes of bowel bleeding such as non-cancerous polyps. A colonoscopy (needed as further investigation) can cause bowel perforation. These are serious problems and before you progress with a screening procedure you should be aware of them. This is called ‘informed consent’ and is the reason why all our recommendations are designed for you to discuss with your health practitioner.
The recommencdations on are not those of groups with vested interests (ie make money our of you) in having you screened. The recommendations are those of government groups that look at the individual and public impact of screening and those that show definate benefit are listed.