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Screening in Disease Prevention: what works?

Walter W Holland|, Susie Stewart
Radcliffe Publishing (August 2005)

Screening for disease has become a widely accepted concept in health care. Screening in Disease Prevention takes a critical look at the practice of screening in the United Kingdom throughout the various stages of life, with a brief overview of the position of screening in Europe. 

The book highlights three current challenges: the increasing consumer, media and commercial focus on health in general and screening in particular, providing accurate and understandable information and tackling the continuing variation in the uptake of screening between different areas of the country and different socio-economic groups. 

The authors conclude that it is essential to be clear about what screening is and is not. Screening is not, and never can be, a universal remedy, a kind of guarantee against illness and future disease. Used selectively and on the basis of sound scientific evidence, regular review and critical evaluation, it remains a powerful tool in the fight against disease. 

Screening in Disease Prevention is important reading for public health doctors, and clinicians and doctors involved in screening programmes. Policy makers and shapers, medical researchers and pressure groups and support organisations for people with screenable conditions will also find it useful. 

  • Walter Holland is emeritus professor of public health medicine at LSE Health and Social Care.
  • Susie Stewart is honorary research fellow at the University of Glasgow.

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