Can An Early Medical Diagnosis Increase The Chance of Recovery?

Can An Early Medical Diagnosis Increase The Chance of Recovery?

Can An Early Medical Diagnosis Increase The Chance of Recovery?

Some medical practitioners swear by early medical diagnosis, while a distinct minority maintains that it may be doing more harm than good to the people. The majority belief is that early diagnosis can help in combatting diseases and eventually recovering from them. Early diagnosis may likewise help prepare the patient and the patient’s family in terms of the physical, mental, and financial impacts of a disease in the family. Diseases can rack up medical bills, doctor’s professional fees, hospital bills, and costs from medical supplies such as histology supplies. However, the other side of the coin provides that the clamor for early diagnosis result in overdiagnosis of patients, which eventually lead to undeserved mental anguish and financial difficulty., Can An Early Medical Diagnosis Increase The Chance of Recovery?

Early diagnosis increase recovery rate

Most doctors and medical practitioners advise patients to have their ailments diagnosed as early as possible. This is most obvious in some diseases than others. For example, early detection in breast cancer patients greatly increases their rate of survival and recovery from the cancer symptoms. Diagnosis among 15-39 year olds leads to 84% survival rate, with a peak survival rate of 90% among diagnosed patients who are 50-69 year olds. However, survival rate among 80-99 year olds is at 69%. The difference in survival rate among the younger population is considered due to breast cancer types which tend to be more aggressive than those that afflict women 50 years old and above.

Alzheimer’s disease, a cognitive degenerative disease is one of the most recognized diseases afflicting the general public that benefit from early detection. Early Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is vital in improving the physical and emotional effects of the disease, as well as the financial impacts it may have on the patient. The World Alzheimer’s Report 2011 provides for nine benefits from early Alzheimer diagnosis. Among these are optimum medical management of symptoms and treatable factors, emotional relief from better understanding, increased decision-making autonomy, compared to discovering the disease at its advanced stages, reduced risks, improved clinical outcomes, and reduction of future financial costs. The Alzheimer’s Report also maintains that diagnosis is a human right; it includes the right to be informed and the right of access to accurate diagnosis.

Early Diagnosis and Overdiagnosis

Dartmouth physicians and researchers H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin maintains that medical community’s over reliance to early diagnosis and treatment may actually have a counter-productive effect. They observe that oftentimes, early tests and screenings ordered by medical practitioners result to overdiagnosis of patients. For example, of 2500 women who undergo mammogram, about half of them will have abnormal mammogram findings, about half of the latter will have unnecessary biopsies, and about 5 to 15 patients will receive surgery needlessly. Only one of them will have been in actual risk of breast cancer death. The researchers maintain that these needless procedures result to financial strain to patients, not to mention the impact the procedures have on their physical and mental health. This is particularly true for patients who undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy for benign tumors.

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