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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.
PMID: 29973350 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]