Cancer tests can save lives, but can also have unintended effects

BOSTON, MA — In the case of most cancers, early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment. However, looking for cancer in a man who appears to be healthy can have unintended consequences, says the October issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch.

Most people realize that such tests may be frightening, inconvenient, or uncomfortable—and that invasive tests may have side effects that can be serious. But, says the Harvard Men's Health Watch, even a test that's safe and simple can lead to additional tests or treatments that are not. In short, the test can end up doing more harm than good.

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