Earlier detection is not necessarily better.
People often assume that early detection of problems leads to better outcomes. However, screening is only useful if two conditions are met. First, there must be an effective intervention. Second, treatment before a problem becomes apparent must have a better outcome than when a problem is treated only after it becomes apparent.
Screening and preventative interventions can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Screening tests can be inaccurate (e.g. wrongly indicating a pest infection when there isn’t, or vice versa). Screening can also cause harm by labelling healthy animals/crops as having a problem (such as a disease) when they do not have one. Screening can also be harmful because of side effects of the tests and because of side effects of the interventions that follow testing.
BEWARE of claims that early detection and intervention is always better than dealing with an issue once it becomes apparent.
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