Many Seniors Getting Unnecessary Cancer Screenings

Rate of non-recommended screening 15.7% in those 65 years and older
Rate of non-recommended screening 15.7% in those 65 years and older

HealthDay News — Many older Americans are unnecessarily screened for breast and prostate cancer, according to a research letter published online January 21 in JAMA Oncology.

Firas Abdollah, MD, of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues collected data on 149 514 individuals 65 and older who responded to the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey in 2012.

The researchers found that among these individuals, 51.1% had had a prostate-specific antigen test or mammography in the past year. Of those who were screened, 30.8% had a life expectancy of less than 10 years. The rate of non-recommended screening was 15.7%. This rate varied across the country, from 11.6% in Colorado to 20.2% in Georgia. States with a high rate of non-recommended screening for prostate cancer also had a high rate of non-recommended screening for breast cancer.

"Efforts should be deployed to reduce non-recommended screening in states with a high rate of non-recommended screening," the authors write. "This effort may avoid significant harms to many individuals and improve the cost efficiency of screening initiatives."

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