False positive screening for cancer found to be frequent and costly

December 14, 2004

PHILADELPHIA--Cancer screening tests can frequently produce false positive outcomes that may result not only in anxiety but also additional economic costs as well, according to research conducted by scientists at the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich., and published in the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Among 1,087 individuals participating in a cancer screening trial who received a battery of tests for prostate, ovarian, colorectal and lung cancer, 43 percent had at least one false positive test result, according to Jennifer Elston Lafata, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Services Research at the Henry Ford Health System and the lead author on the study.

"As new cancer screening tests are developed it is important to consider not only their potential clinical benefits, but also their potential for adverse effects," said Lafata, director of the Center for Health Services Research at the Henry Ford Health System. "One such adverse effect is the medical care costs associated with false positive cancer screening test results. Although such costs are often overlooked, we've shown they can be quite substantial."

Specifically, men who incurred a false positive result for either prostate, lung or colorectal cancer averaged $1,171 in additional medical care expenditures compared to men with all negative screens. More than half, 51 percent, of the men in the study had at least one false positive test.

For women, 36 percent had false positive screening results. Women with a false positive screen for ovarian, colorectal or lung cancer experienced $1,024 more in follow-up medical care expenses compared to women with all negative results.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and is part of a larger trial of the effectiveness of screening for prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers.

"The results of this smaller study add to the growing body of evidence highlighting the importance of understanding not only the likely benefits of cancer screening, but also how the accuracy of screening tests impacts patients and medical care expenditures, and thus the overall cost-effectiveness of different screening alternatives," Lafata said.

"Although the clinical evidence for the use of these and many other new screening tests is still being developed, many such screening tests are already widely used in practice thereby resulting in what can be substantial additional medical care costs without known benefits."

Henry Ford Medical Group researchers who collaborated with Lafata in the study included Janine Simpkins, M.A., Lois Lamerato, Ph.D., Laila Poisson, M.S., George Divine, Ph.D., and Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D.
-end-
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a professional society of more than 24,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical scientists engaged in all areas of cancer research in the United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR's mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication, and advocacy. Its principal activities include the publication of five major peer-reviewed scientific journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. AACR's Annual Meetings attract more than 15,000 participants who share new and significant discoveries in the cancer field. Specialty meetings, held throughout the year, focus on the latest developments in all areas of cancer research.

American Association for Cancer Research

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.