Study: Many older people undergo unnecessary cancer screening

Stephen Reinberg
Health Day Reporter

Monday, August 18, 2014 (HealthDay News)-Elderly people who are not expected to live for more than 10 years still have prostate, breast, neck, and Colon cancer -Although unlikely to benefit them, new research has discovered.

Unnecessary screening can lead to invasive procedures such as biopsy and unnecessary treatment such as surgery. radiation When chemical treatmentResearchers said all of this could affect quality of life without prolonging it.

“There seems to be a lot in the United States. Cancer screening In patients with a short life expectancy, “he said. radiation Oncology At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“For patients with limited life expectancy cancer Screening can be more harmful than profitable, “Chen said. cancer If the patient’s life expectancy is short.There is no proof of that cancer Screening is useful for patients with a survival time of less than 10 years. “

Chen believes that patients may expect screening and it may be difficult for doctors to tell them that screening is not necessary.

Patients need to be educated about the benefits and harms of screening, Chen said. “We may also have to educate our doctors,” he said.

The report was published online in the journal on August 18th. JAMA Internal Medicine..

Dr. Cary Gross, a professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and the author of the magazine’s editorial, said: cancer Sifting. ”

Cancer screening He said he had really taken off in the last 40 years. “With enthusiasm cancer Screening raises awareness that screening may not be as effective as we expected and may not be of any benefit to some patients, “Gross said.

cancer Screening is complex and patients should take the time to ask their doctors about their risks and benefits, he said.

“People should ask about the possibility of dying cancer When they are screened compared to when they are not screened. You should also ask which type of test is best for them and why doctors recommend it, “Gross said.

“We need to make cancer screening decisions in the same way that we make other important health decisions,” he said. “The medical community has touted cancer screening as a simple type of decision. It’s now clear that this isn’t the case. Not only are there benefits, but there are risks and costs. [let the buyer beware].. “

In this study, Chen et al. Used data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (2000-2010) to collect data on cancer screening in more than 27,000 men and women over the age of 65 and risk it. Ranked according to. Will die within 10 years.

Researchers found that among those at highest risk of dying within 10 years, 31 to 55 percent were screened for cancer. Prostate cancer screening It was common among men in this high-risk group (55 percent).Among the women who had Hysterectomy Given benign reasons, 34 percent to 56 percent Pap test Within the last 3 years.

Screening rate for all patients was 64% Prostate cancer, 63% breast cancer, 57% Cervical cancer And 47 percent Colon cancer, The author of the study said.

Chen’s team also found a small number of men screened. Prostate cancer And for fewer women Cervical cancer More recently than in 2000.

In addition, the older the patient, the less likely he is to be screened. Married patients, highly educated patients, those with health insurance, and their own legitimate doctors are likely to be screened, the researchers said.

In another study in the same journal, Frank Van Heath, a researcher in the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was particularly active. Colon cancer screening..

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“Many older people in the United States are screened for colon cancer more often than recommended,” he said.

These researchers have one in five adults Colon endoscopy Another who discovered that there was no cancer Colon endoscopy 5 years later, not the recommended 10 years.

In addition, one in four people over the age of 75 who had a negative colonoscopy had another screening at an older age, Van Heath said. The current recommendations do not require regular screening after age 75, the researchers added.

“In our study, in individuals at average risk, these practices are not only a waste of scarce medical resources, but are often associated with a disadvantageous balance of benefits and harms.” Van Heath said.

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Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Doctor of Medicine Ronald Chen. Frank Van Heath, Master, Researcher, Faculty of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Cary Gross, MD, Professor, Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; August 18, 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine,online

Study: Many older people undergo unnecessary cancer screening

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