Screening decisions must balance potential benefits with potential patient harms
Screening to detect medical conditions has become standard practice for many diseases, but insufficient attention has been paid to the potential for harm, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina, including members of its UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. In an article published by the Journal of American Medical Association – Internal Medicine, the authors outline a framework that physicians, patients, policy makers and researchers can use to think systematically about the harms of screening programs. This rationale – a “taxonomy of harms” – makes it easier for decision makers to fully consider all harms to balance against anticipated benefits.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 68 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.