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Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease Paperback – July 24, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Alan Cassels strips layers of expectation, hype, hargon, false-starts, and conflicts of interest off the medical screening mantra"—Nortin M. Handler, author of The Last Well Person

"...With engaging clarity backed by academic rigour, Cassels discusses a variety of popular investigational procedures...Seeking Sickness is an excellent way to start the important process of self-education."—Quill and Quire

About the Author

Alan Cassels is a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, and is the co-author (with Ray Moynihan) of the international bestseller Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch is a general internist whose research focuses on the problems created by medicine's efforts to detect disease early. Most of his work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening. He is the author of Should I be Tested for Cancer? and Overdiagnosed.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Greystone Books; 1 edition (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1771000325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1771000321
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book was entertaining, educational...asks a lot of very important questions about tests that we take for granted as obviously good. This book will not be popular with Big Pharma, (or medical device manufacturers, either) but as nearly all of us have to make decisions about whether and how to be screened for disease, this book is very helpful in both sharing critical data and also in helping us understand what many of these statistics bandied about actually mean. (In many cases, it's not very much.) Since screening has real costs, both in terms of false positives, collateral damage from follow-up procedures, and drug side-effects, and because we usually aren't really given the whole unvarnished truth when faced with decisions to screen or not to screen, this book is very valuable, if only in asking us to ask more questions of those who would seek to test us for disease.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this well-written, very readable book, Cassels shows the other side of secondary prevention a.k.a. screening for potential illnesses in people without symptoms. He discusses many common procedures, such as cholesterol screening, Pap smear, intraocular pressure testing, etc., summarizes relevant research and position of authoritative bodies, such as the US Preventive Services Task Force, and shows the unintended side effects of widespread testing for these conditions in healthy populations.

The screenings are often presented to the healthy public as very beneficial and most people just sign the consent and get it done. Was that informed consent? In order to give informed consent, one must have all the relevant information. But how often do physicians and physician extenders discuss the rates of false positives, the likely sequence of events if there is an abnormal finding, the likely cost (both financial and emotional) to the patient, or even what is likely to happen if one does nothing at all? Can you blame them? Maybe not - there is a lot stacked against them: our pay-per-procedure health care system with its inherent conflict of interests for most providers, the litigious society in which we live and the resulting practice of "defensive medicine", the rampant direct-to-public advertising of medical screenings...
Can you get the facts anyway? Yes, and Cassels not only presents them for those most common screenings, he also includes an extensive reference list and bibliography (in the Kindle version, about 30 pages of the 177 page total), and gives you a short list of questions to ask your provider, to get the conversation started.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to think screening was a good idea -- better safe than sorry, right? Dr. Cassels makes a compelling and highly readable case that the opposite is true. You are often if not usually better off not "knowing" something, for a variety of reasons. This book anticipates the explosive growth of the wellness industry and its obsession with screening all of us all the time or making us pay fines. It is the best anti-workplace wellness book there is (including my own) even though it doesn't once mention workplace wellness.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of several books on the risks of medical screening that have been written in recent years. Here, in eleven chapters, the author discusses the screening of various body parts to search for abnormalities: from whole body CT scans to eyeball pressure – there are even chapters on mental health screening and self-screening. In each case, he discusses how the supposed need for the screening of healthy individuals came about, the promoters, the techniques used, their effectiveness (or lack thereof), the dangers involved of the techniques themselves and the possible post-screening consequences. Along the way, he presents various case studies of healthy individuals who were somehow injured through unnecessary medical screening. Throughout, the author makes what I think are common-sense recommendations that should be seriously considered by everyone.

I found the author’s writing style to be clear, friendly, lively and quite captivating. I believe that this book, and others like it, should be read by everyone, if only to make healthy people aware of the possible dangers of medical screening and guide them towards making well-informed decisions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book arrived a little late but the inside is well worth it . Many need to read to become awaken at the medical profession's practice of ordering test and additional screening when it is not warranted. Additional exposure to harmful x rays and other non evasive testing only pads the medical bill but not needed in many cases. Education and questioning the process can save money and unnecessary tests.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written and researched this author joins Hadler and Welch as one of the first tier 'medical minimalists' whose work will inspire its readers to learn before they leap
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