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An imaging test is a way to let doctors see what’s going on inside your body, says the American Cancer Society in its information for patients. It is natural to assume that a more accurate imaging test is always desirable when looking inside the body to screen for or to diagnose disease.
But what does “accuracy” mean in imaging tests and in clinical practice? What are the limits we reach and tradeoffs involved in improving accuracy? Current debates about over diagnosis in cancer screening show the need to scrutinize critically our deeply held assumptions about objectivity in medical imaging.
I propose for debate that there may be conditions under which an imprecise medical image is a better medical image.
What ethical and epistemic challenges would be raised by a deliberate choice for imprecise medical imaging?