SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.81 issue4Predictive capacity, comparison and clinic consecuences of the Framingham-Wilson and REGICOR tables in persons for whom care has been provided at a health care center, Badajoz, Spain author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • Have no similar articlesSimilars in SciELO
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


GERVAS CAMACHO, Juan; PEREZ FERNANDEZ, Mercedes  and  GONZALEZ DE DIOS, Javier. Ethical and practical problems of secondary prevention: Two paediatrics examples. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.81, n.4, pp.345-352. ISSN 2173-9110.

The concept of prevention is surrounded by a halo of optimism that can sometimes confuse, since it is not always borne out by the facts. The saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", is not always true. Moreover, preventive activities should be based on a much more solid scientific basis than curative activities, since we offer the former as an option, whereas we are required to provide the latter. This article reviews two examples of paediatric screening instruments-one for neuroblastoma, and the other for hip dysplasia-which provide an opportunity to evaluate the practical problems of secondary prevention. These two instruments are used to examine a few general but important issues in screening, such as the need to know the natural history of the disease, and the "point of no return" (the moment past which early diagnosis and early intervention are no longer so effective in improving the course of the disease). In conclusion, only sometimes "an ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention", and regardless of the value of a given screening instrument, clinicians should use the same level of scientific rigor to judge preventive activities as they use for curative activities.

Keywords : Screening; Secondary prevention; Neuro-blastoma; Development dysplasia of the hip.

        · abstract in Spanish     · text in Spanish     · Spanish ( pdf )


Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License