Studies Point to Unnecessary Testing in Cancer, Particularly in the Older Population

The two studies, published in the August issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, examine the pros and cons of the current cancer screening methodologies.

Screening older patients for cancer provided minimal benefit at considerable cost and increased use of invasive procedures, reported investigators in two separate studies.

Screening rates for four types of cancer declined as a patient's mortality risk increased, but 31% to 55% of patients with a high mortality risk continued to be screened for prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. Evidence of inappropriate use of screening tests -- such as Pap tests for women who had undergone hysterectomy -- also emerged from the analysis involving 27,404 patients, ages 65 and over.

"A substantial proportion of the U.S. population with limited life expectancy received prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening that is unlikely to provide net benefit," Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues concluded in an article published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

"These results raise concerns about overscreening in these individuals, which not only increases healthcare expenditures but can lead to patient net harm," Chen's group wrote.

Link to the journal issue:

Read the report here:

Source: medpage Today

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