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The possibility of identifying individuals in the early stages of a disease and starting treatment when the illness is still reversible is most appealing. Such interaction for chronic conditions as coronary heart disease and cancer is especially attractive because treatment at the later stages of these diseases is often for the alleviation of pain and suffering rather than for cure.
Screening programs, originally introduced as a public health measure to detect conditions such as tuberculosis and other diseases that were a hazard to the community, have been established not only to prevent disease but also to detect persons with early, mild, or asymptomatic diseases so that treatment might be instituted sooner rather than later. Screening for cancer of the breast, colon and cervix, in particular, have become part of the routine of a good medical examination.
Screening in Chronic Disease is a useful reference source for those interested in the
Finkel ML. Screening in Chronic Disease. JAMA. 1985;254(21):3111-3112. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210127054