Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease

Written by Alan Cassels

Why wouldn't you want to be screened to see if you're at risk for cancer, heart disease, or another potentially lethal condition? After all, better safe than sorry. Right?

Not so fast, says Alan Cassels. His Seeking Sickness takes us inside the world of medical screening, where well-meaning practitioners and a profit-motivated industry offer to save our lives by exploiting our fears. He writes that promoters of screening overpromise on its benefits and downplay its harms, which can range from the merely annoying to the life threatening. If you're facing a screening test for breast or prostate cancer, high cholesterol, or low testosterone, someone is about to turn you into a patient. You need to ask yourself one simple question: Am I ready for all the things that could go wrong?

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Featured On Episode #173

Seeking Sickness

This week, we’re looking at some common assumptions about healthcare, including the well-known benefits – and less discussed costs – of popular screening technologies. We’re joined by drug policy researcher Alan Cassels, to talk about his book Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease. And we’ll speak to paramedic and skeptical blogger Michael Kruse about Bad Science Watch, a new non-profit watchdog organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by countering bad science.

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