Objektivität bei der Krebsfrüherkennung

BOSTON – Eine der kontroversesten medizinischen Debatten wird heute um die Krebsfrüherkennung geführt, deren Vorteile offensichtlich scheinen. Viele glauben, eine frühere Erkennung sei logischerweise für den Kampf des Patienten gegen die Krankheit vorteilhaft. Tatsächlich kann diese Annahme aber nicht immer bestätigt werden. Ein Beispiel dafür ist Prostatakrebs.

Früherkennung durch Vorsorgeuntersuchung beinhaltet das massenhafte Testen von Menschen eines bestimmten Alters und Geschlechts, unabhängig von Familiengeschichte und persönlicher Gesundheit, um eine mögliche Krankheit zu erkennen. Damit die Früherkennung hilfreich ist, muss der Test oder die Prozedur die entsprechende Krankheit sofort ausfindig machen, und die nachfolgende Behandlung muss einen messbaren Nutzen aufweisen. Anders ausgedrückt: Der getesteten Bevölkerung muss es besser gehen als der nicht getesteten Bevölkerung.

Bei manchen Gesundheitsproblemen – wie einem erhöhten Cholesterinspiegel – hat die Früherkennung positive Ergebnisse: Durch einen einfachen Bluttest wird die Menge guten und schlechten Cholesterols im Blut gemessen, wodurch Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen, die zu Herzinfarkten oder Schlaganfällen führen können, leichter erkannt werden. Diejenigen, die getestet, diagnostiziert und behandelt werden, erleiden tatsächlich weniger Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen.

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