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Consider 2 true stories described in a recent report: in one case, a dangerous mass is unexpectedly discovered in the brain of a healthy young medical student participating in a research study, leading to lifesaving surgery. In the other, a marathon runner who collapses from overhydration learns in an emergency department evaluation that she has an unrelated condition, a small brain tumor that might never affect her health but sentences her to years of anxious “watchful waiting.”
Mitka M. Bioethicists Issue Guidance on Handling Incidental Findings. JAMA. 2014;311(6):562-563. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.285785