Navigation Links
Many With Terminal Cancer Still Getting Routine Screens

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with incurable cancer are still being screened for common cancers, although these tests are unlikely to provide any benefit, researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City have found.

Specifically, many patients diagnosed with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreatic, gastroesophageal or breast cancer are still undergoing the ordeal of routine breast, prostate and colon cancer screening, said the researchers. Not only might these patients suffer from invasive procedures like colonoscopies near the end of life, the researchers said, but they face the unnecessary risk of additional tests, biopsies and psychological distress resulting from the detection of new malignancies.

"For patients living with advanced cancer, cancer screening should not be a routine procedure," said lead researcher Dr. Camelia S. Sima, an assistant attending biostatistician.

"Patients living with advanced malignancies and their doctors should engage in a realistic conversation about the risks and benefits associated with cancer screening in [the] face of a severely limited life expectancy," she added.

The report is published in the Oct. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Sima's team collected data on 87,736 Medicare patients aged 65 years or older with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreatic, gastroesophageal or breast cancer, whose data was reported in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) tumor registries.

These patients were followed from their diagnosis, between 1998 and 2005, until they died or to the end of 2007.

To compare the findings to a control group, the researchers also collected data on 87,307 similar Medicare patients without cancer, who were matched with the other individuals for age, race, sex and SEER data. In both patient groups, Sima's team looked at the rates of mammograms for breast cancer, Pap tests for cervical cancer, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests for prostate cancer and endoscopy for colon cancer.

The investigators found that among women with advanced cancer, 8.9 percent had a mammogram, compared with 22 percent of those without cancer; and 5.8 percent of the cancer patients had a Pap test, compared with 12.5 percent of those without cancer.

Among men, 15 percent of those with advanced cancer had a PSA test for prostate cancer, compared with 27.2 percent of those without cancer.

Among all patients, 1.7 percent of those with advanced cancer underwent a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer, compared with 4.7 percent of those without cancer, the researchers found.

Patients who had been screened more often were more likely to continue being screened after being diagnosed with advanced cancer, as were those who were wealthier and married, Sima's group noted.

There needs to be greater awareness that cancer screening when one is near the end of life is unlikely to provide a benefit, Sima pointed out.

"Screening guidelines could be reassessed to address the appropriateness of screening for patients whose very limited life expectancy due to advanced cancer negates any potential benefit that may be derived," Sima said.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said that "we can do a lot of good with screening, but we have to recognize that there comes a time when it's simply not the right thing to do."

Lichtenfeld suggested that patients should discuss the appropriateness of a screening test with their doctor. "Putting people at the end of life through screening is not appropriate for the person, and from a societal viewpoint, it's not a good use of our limited resources," he said.

"Why would this happen in the first place?" Lichtenfeld asked. "It flies in the face of compassion; it flies in the face of common sense."

In addition, he noted, should a test find a cancer, then what happens? "I hope doctors would not be doing additional procedures on people who are nearing the end of their lives," Lichtenfeld said.

More information

For more information on cancer screening, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Camelia S. Sima, M.D., assistant attending biostatistician, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; Oct. 13, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Terminal cancer patients do not receive appropriate radiation therapy
2. Many Terminal Cancer Patients May Be Overtreated
3. New Medic Monthly Course Focuses on DNR Orders for Patients with Terminal Illness
4. Professionals think that there arent criteria for certifying that an illness is terminal
5. Doctors Religious Beliefs Can Color Their Care of Terminally Ill
6. Enhancing arrest of cell growth to treat cancer in mice
7. Paxil Blocks Tamoxifen, Lowers Survival Odds Against Breast Cancer
8. The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Joins the Commission on Cancer
9. Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drugs effectiveness
10. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
11. Soft drinks may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Many With Terminal Cancer Still Getting Routine Screens
(Date:11/27/2015)... PA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... be a safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so ... and effective way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of 30 kinetic edge graphics ... editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX production. Create lists, ... self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease of FCPX's drag and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is hosted by ... of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world with a ... the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , In the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The men and ... nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, shown commitment ... advance the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and professional efforts. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the ... available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... november 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge ... investering aan van ten minste $15,8 miljoen ... het mondiale hoofdkantoor in Wilmington, ... in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit voor ... behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische markten. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- --> --> Juntendo ... optimal contrast weighting of MRI for patients with Multiple ... research agreement with SyntheticMR in order to use SyMRI in ... possible to generate multiple contrast images from a single scan ... thus making it possible to both fine tune images and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive ... --> --> ... analysis of the Japanese therapeutic drug monitoring market, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: