We’ve all heard that early detection is vital for many medical conditions, but when it comes to prostate cancer, an Oxford academic has claimed that thousands of men who have the illness would actually be better off if they had never been diagnosed.
According to Professor Freddie Hamdy, many men with slow-growing tumors that hadn’t spread underwent treatment they didn’t need out of sheer anxiety over the presence of the tumor.
He said that a diagnosis prompted many men to feel worried and depressed, opting to get treatment even when it wasn’t in their best interest.
Professor Hamdy said: “You can over-detect [prostate cancer] in people, when it wouldn’t cause them any harm. Over-treatment is a consequence of over-detection because when you tell a patient that he has cancer, you give him a new identity, you give him a new passport which he is going to have to carry for the rest of his life.