Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a general internist and professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, will present “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health” on Thursday at the University of Montana.

The event, which is being hosted by WWAMI Missoula and the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana, will be at 7 p.m. in Room 210 of the Continuing Education Building.

Over the past several decades, there has been growing enthusiasm for early diagnosis – engaging many physicians in a systematic search for abnormalities in people who are well. While most consider only potential benefits, Welch will discuss the often-ignored harm: overdiagnosis.

Diagnoses of many conditions, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer have skyrocketed in the past few decades, yet many of individuals given these diagnoses are not destined to ever develop symptoms of – or die from – their condition. These overdiagnosed patients cannot benefit from treatment, but they can be harmed.

For the past two decades, Welch’s research has focused on the problems created by medicine’s efforts to detect disease early. Much of his work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening, in particular screening for melanoma, thyroid, lung, breast and prostate cancer. His first book, “Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here’s Why,” was written while he was a visitingscientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer. He has recently published his second book, “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.”

For more information contact Megan Twohig, program coordinator for WWAMI Missoula, at 243-4576 or megan.twohig@providence.org.

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