Overdiagnosis is a term coined by experts in cancer screening to point to indolent cancers detected by screening that would have never led to manifest health problems. Overdiagnosis leads to unnecessary medical care (overtreatment), anxiety and cost. In rheumatology overdiagnosis and overtreatment are hardly discussed but likely present. This viewpoint examines how our prevailing views on the management of inflammatory rheumatic diseases may relate to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Six paradigms of modern rheumatology will be discussed: early diagnosis, intensive treatment, remission, prognosis and risk stratification, evidence-based rheumatology, and precision medicine. It is concluded that, in spite of the enormous progress that they have brought, all paradigms bear the intrinsic dangers of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. So a little caution is in order.
- early rheumatoid arthritis
- patient perspective
- psoriatic arthritis
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors The author is fully responsible for the content of this manuscript, for drafting it, revising it and approving it for publication.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.