Disease Prevention From a Doctors' Perspective

Medical Author: Dennis Lee, MD
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD

Introduction - A Doctor's philosophy concerning disease prevention

Preventing disease is different from treating diseases. In treating diseases, doctors and patients are often willing to accept a finite degree of risk of side effects in order to achieve a cure or reduction of uncomfortable symptoms. In preventing diseases, doctors are extremely risk adverse. Remember, the first priority in doctoring is to "do no harm". Thus, when prescribing an agent for prolonged periods of time to prevent a disease that may or may not occur, the doctor would not want that agent to cause adverse side effects in a healthy person.