Screening – What, When and Whom?

  • Niklas JuthEmail author
  • Christian Munthe
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 51)


Every screening programme has to be evaluated in terms of the goals it tries to achieve – how well it may be expected to achieve them, what possible drawbacks in terms of counteraction of some goals and other undesirable side-effects it may bring, and the overall balance of its costs and benefits compared to alternative measures. In the previous chapter, the possible general goals of screening and some of the various complications that they imply were introduced. In the present one, we will be addressing in more detail various problems that arise as a result of certain kinds of screening.

Screening programmes may be more or less warranted depending on properties of the disease or health problems targeted by the program, the testing, investigatory and analytical methods applied, and the treatments available. Since different diseases have their onset in different ages, there is also the related question of when in people’s lives tests should be made – during the prenatal, neo-natal, childhood or adult stage. For this reason, we will start out in Section 3.1 by addressing the issue of what diseases to screen for in relation to what groups will in effect be targeted by the programme. Having done that, considerations relating to methods for investigation, testing and analysis will be the subject of Section 3.2, while Section 3.3 will be devoted to the issue of what to require of available treatments for targeted conditions in the screening context.


Down Syndrome Screening Programme Prenatal Diagnosis Screen Programme Disable People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karolinska Institutet Dept. Learning, Informatics, Management & Ethics (LIME)StockholmSweden
  2. 2.Dept. Philosophy, Linguistics & Theory of ScienceUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden

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