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Informed consent: False positives not a worry in lung cancer study
Date:7/24/2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended computerized tomography (CT) lung screening for people at high risk for cancer, but a potential problem with CT is that many patients will have positive results on the screening test, only to be deemed cancer-free on further testing. Many policymakers have expressed concern that this high false-positive rate will cause patients to become needlessly upset. A new study of National Lung Screening Trial participant responses to false positive diagnoses, however, finds that those who received false positive screening results did not report increased anxiety or lower quality of life compared with participants who received negative screen results.

"Most people anticipated that participants who were told that they had a positive screen result would experience increased anxiety and reduced quality of life. However, we did not find this to be the case," said Ilana Gareen, assistant professor (research) of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study published in the journal Cancer.

The NLST's central finding, announced in 2010, was that screening with helical CT scans reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent compared to screening with chest X-rays. The huge trial spanned more than a decade, enrolling more than 53,000 smokers at 33 sites.

In the new study, Gareen and co-authors, including Brown faculty and staff members Fenghei Duan, Constantine Gatsonis, Erin Greco, and Bradley Snyder, followed up with a subset of participants at 16 sites to assess the psychological effects of the CT and X-ray screenings compared in the trial.

"In the context of our study, with the consent process that we used, we found no increased anxiety or decreased quality of life at one or six months after screening for participants having a false positive," Gareen said. "What we expected was that there woul
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Informed consent: False positives not a worry in lung cancer study
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