How to Measure a Medical Treatment’s Potential for Harm

Sometimes, the chance of a medical treatment’s harm can be greater than the potential for benefit…

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Knowing a medical therapy’s potential for benefit is not enough., we must also consider potential harms.

Not every person who takes a medication will suffer a side effect, just as not every person will see a benefit. And sometimes, the chance of harm can be greater than the potential for benefit…

For instance, for about every 1,500 women assigned to get mammography screening for 10 years, one might be spared a death from breast cancer (though she’d most likely die of some other cause). But about five more women would undergo surgery and about four more would undergo radiation, both of which can have dangerous, even life-threatening, side effects…

Continue reading How to Measure a Medical Treatment’s Potential for Harm,
nytimes, FEB. 2, 2015.

Related post: Can This Treatment Help Me? There’s a Statistic for That,
nytimes, JAN. 26, 2015.

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