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Sharing data with providers associated with plummeting rates of unnecessary medical tests in Sweden
Date:7/23/2013

NEW YORK, July 23, 2013 The rate of inappropriate cancer scans for low-risk prostate cancer patients in Sweden plummeted in the decade following a joint campaign to curtail such tests by Swedish County Councils and the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) of Sweden, a professional association of Swedish urologists. The results, published today online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggest that curtailing unneeded medical tests, an urgent healthcare policy goal in the United States highlighted in the Choosing Wisely Campaign, among other initiatives, is achievable, says Danil V. Makarov, MD, assistant professor of urology and population health at NYU Langone Medical Center and lead author of the study.

According to Dr. Makarov, extensive cancer scans checking for metastases are discouraged for patients who have low-grade, slow-growing prostate tumors, which have almost no risk of metastasis. Though quality measures and clinical guidelines by policy organizations and professional societies to limit the use of such scans have been around for almost two decades, for various reasons many physicians have been slow to adopt them.

"In the United States we have guidelines about the overuse of imaging tests, but lack a roadmap for their implementation," says Dr. Makarov. "We could learn a lot from what the Swedes have done."

Stacy Loeb, MD, assistant professor of urology and population health and a co-author of the study says, "Imaging is very important for men with high risk prostate cancer to find out whether it has spread and guide how they are treated. However, due to prostate cancer screening, most prostate cancer is now diagnosed at an early stage. Low-risk prostate cancer is very unlikely to have spread, so imaging is not necessary, causing undue burden for the patients and costs for the healthcare system."

In the study, Drs. Makarov and Loeb at NYU Langone collaborated with Swedish colleagu
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Contact: Lorinda Klein
lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org
212-404-3533
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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