Fecal Testing Better At Detecting Colon Cancer Than Advanced Atypical Changes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anastasia Katsoula, MD MSc Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Greece 

Dr. Katsoula

Anastasia Katsoula, MD MSc
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Greece 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) has proven to be effective in reduction of cancer-related mortality. Fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) has been recently advocated for population-based screening for CRC in average-risk individuals due to its high accuracy and potential for adherence, based on results from previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses in average-risk populations. However, the potential role of FIT for screening of subjects at increased risk for CRC has not yet been elucidated, hence colonoscopy is currently the only recommended screening option for subjects at increased risk of CRC. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the diagnostic accuracy of FIT for CRC or advanced neoplasia (AN) in patientswith personal or familial history of CRC, using colonoscopy as the reference standard.

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No Angelina Jolie Effect Found In Rates of Breast Cancer Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD Department of Radiology Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 

Dr. Huesch

Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD
Department of Radiology
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Hershey, PA  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Public health depends on coordinated actions between patients, payors and providers. Important preventative care and evidence-based screenings need to be understood and sought out by patients, need to be reimbursed by or subsidized by insurance plans, and offered and recommended by physicians and care team members.

Women’s breast health is a good example of how – in theory – all these come together and allow women to obtain regular screenings for breast cancer through mammograms. Yet it is commonly accepted that perhaps as many as 1 in 3 women are not adequately screened or are not screened at all.

In this study we hypothesized that a prominent global celebrity, Ms Angelina Jolie’s, highly public announcement of her own risk-reducing surgery to prevent breast cancer and her recommendation to women to understand whether they were at high risk might spur uptake of breast screenings at our institution.

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Many Older Adults Welcome A Stop To Cancer Screenings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nancy Schoenborn, MD Assistant Professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Nancy Schoenborn, MD
Assistant Professor
Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: A lot of cancer screenings are not expected to save lives until up to 10 years later; however, the side effects of the test happen right away. Because of this, clinical guidelines have recommended against routine screening for those patients who will not live long enough to benefit but may experience the potential harm of the test in the short term. However, many patients with limited life expectancy still receive screening and clinicians are worried about how patients would react if they recommended that patients stop screening. This research is important because it is the first study that explores how patients think about the decision of stopping cancer screening and how patients want to talk to their doctors about this issue. Understanding patient perspectives would help improve screening practices and better align recommendations and patient preference.

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Widespread Thyroid Cancer Screening Likely Leads To Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. C. Seth Landefeld MD U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and  Chairman of the department of Medicine and Spencer Chair in Medical Science Leadership University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine

Dr. Landefeld

Dr. C. Seth Landefeld MD
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and
Chairman of the department of Medicine and
Spencer Chair in Medical Science Leadership
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Thyroid cancer is rare in the United States, and the evidence shows that screening for it leads to an increase in new diagnoses without affecting the number of people who die from it. This is because screening people without signs or symptoms for thyroid cancer often identifies small or slow-growing tumors that might never affect a person during their lifetime.

After reviewing the evidence, the Task Force found little evidence on the benefits of screening for thyroid cancer and considerable evidence that treatment, which is often unnecessary, can cause significant harms. Additionally, in places where universal screening has been implemented, it hasn’t helped people live longer, healthier lives.

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Comparison of Posttransplant Dermatologic Diseases by Race

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christina Lee Chung, MD, FAAD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Center for Transplant Patients
Drexel University College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It’s long been recognized immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients are at significantly increased risk for skin cancer and other types of skin disease.

But despite advances to improve skin cancer prevention for these patients, little is known about how skin conditions affect African-American, Asian and Hispanic transplant recipients. This is problematic given that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the 120,000 Americans on the waiting list for organs identify as nonwhite.

We compared medical records of 412 organ transplant recipients — including 154 white patients and 258 nonwhite (black, Asian or Hispanic) — who were referred to the Drexel Dermatology Center for Transplant Patients between 2011 and 2016. As one of the only models of its kind in the country, the center provides post-transplant dermatological care to every patient who is transplanted by and/or followed by the Drexel University and Hahnemann University Hospital Transplant Programs. That means that every patient, regardless of race, is screened annually for skin cancer, which provided a unique dataset for us to analyze.

Two hundred eighty-nine transplant recipients exhibited malignant, infectious or inflammatory conditions during their evaluation, but their primary acute diagnoses differed greatly by race. In 82 white patients, skin cancer was the most common acute problem requiring attention at first visit. Black and Hispanic patients, by contrast, were most often diagnosed with inflammatory or infectious processes, such as fungal infections, warts, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes that required immediate medical attention.

Overall, squamous cell carcinoma in situ was the most common type of skin cancer diagnosed in each racial or ethnic group. But the location of the cancerous lesions again depended on the race of the patient. Most lesions in white and Asian patients occurred in sun-exposed areas of the body, like the scalp, neck, chest and back. For black patients, the lesions were primarily found in the groin.  Moreover, six of the nine lesions found on black patients tested positive for high-risk HPV strains, suggesting an association between the virus and skin cancer for African Americans.

We also provided questionnaires to 66 organ transplant recipients to find out more about the patients’ awareness of skin cancer prevention. Seventy-seven percent of white patients were aware their skin cancer risk was increased, compared to 68 percent of nonwhites. Only 11 percent of nonwhite patients reported having regular dermatologic examinations, compared to 36 percent of whites. Finally, 45 percent of white patients but only 25 percent of nonwhite reported knowing the signs of skin cancer.

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False Positive Mammograms Can Lead Women To Delay or Skip Next Exam

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mammogram showing small lesion - Wikipedia

Mammogram showing small lesion
– Wikipedia

Firas Dabbous, PhD
Manager, Patient Centered Outcomes Research
Russell Institute for Research & Innovation
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Park Ridge, IL 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: When women are told that there is something abnormal on their screening mammogram that can cause stress and worry while undergoing additional testing, even when they are later told that there is nothing wrong. We wanted to know if receiving a false positive screening mammogram would cause women to think twice before getting their next screening mammogram, and maybe delay coming back for their next screen. This is important because patients who have a false positive experience may have higher chance to develop breast cancer at a later point in time. Therefore, it is important to understand their screening patterns to better educate and inform them about the importance of adhering to mammography guidelines and emphasize the importance of returning on schedule for their next screens.

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Cost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Screening Requires Careful Patient Selection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kevin ten Haaf MSc

Scientific researcher, Public Health
Erasmus Medical Center
Rotterdam

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Lung cancer screening is currently recommended in the United States, for persons aged 55 through 80 who smoked at least 30 pack-years (the average number of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years the person has smoked) and who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years. Other countries, such as Canada, are investigating the feasibility of implementing lung cancer screening policies.

However, the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening in a population-based setting is uncertain. Concerns have been raised on the feasibility of implementing lung cancer screening policies, especially with regards to the potential costs. In this study, the benefits, harms and costs of implementing lung cancer screening in the province of Ontario, Canada were assessed.

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Annual CT Lung Cancer Screening Among Former Smokers Remains Underutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PHD Vice President, Surveillance and Health Services Research American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal

Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PHD
Vice President, Surveillance and Health Services Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In December 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended annual screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) for current or former heavy smokers who quit within the past 15 years.

A previous study estimated that only 2-4% of heavy smokers received LDCT for lung cancer screening in 2010 in the United States. We sought to determine whether lung cancer screening among high risk smokers increased in 2015, following the USPSTF recommendation in 2013.

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Multifaceted Interventions Improve Cancer Screening Among Marginalized Groups

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sheila F. Dunn, MD, MSc Scientist, Women's College Research Institute Director, Family Practice Health Centre Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine Women's College Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine University of Toronto

Dr. Sheila Dunn

Sheila F. Dunn, MD, MSc
Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Director, Family Practice Health Centre
Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Women’s College Hospital
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite organized cervical and breast cancer screening programs, inequities in screening remain. In Ontario, women who are newcomers, especially those of South Asian and East Asian origin, have much lower screening rates than Canadian-born women.

In order to address these inequities the CARES program used a multi-faceted community-based intervention to increase knowledge and promote cervical and breast cancer screening among newcomer and otherwise marginalized women in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We reached out to women in the target groups through a network of community agencies. Women attended group educational sessions co-led by peers who spoke their language. Access to screening was facilitated through group screening visits, a visit health bus and on-site Pap smears. Administrative data were used to compare screening after the education date for CARES participants with a control group matched for age, screening status and area of residence.

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Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Is Complex Task With Many False Positives

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Linda-Kinsinger.jpg

Dr. Linda Kinsinger

Linda Kinsinger, MD, MPH
National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
NW Washington DC 20420

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 80.

However, clinicians have questioned the practical aspects of implementing lung cancer screening. VA provides care for 6.7 million Veterans each year, mostly older men – many of whom are current or former smokers – thus the implementation of a lung cancer screening program for VA patients would require substantial resources. In order to understand the feasibility and implications of this for patients and clinical staff, VA implemented a three-year Lung Cancer Screening Demonstration Project (LCSDP) in eight geographically-diverse VA hospitals. Investigators identified 93,033 primary care patients at eight sites who were assessed on screening criteria, of whom 2,106 patients were screened between July 2013 and June 2015.

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Stool DNA Tests (Cologuard ) Increases Colon Cancer Screening and Detection Among Previously Noncompliant Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Mark Prince MD USMD Health System Arlington, TX 76017

Dr. Mark Prince

Dr. Mark Prince MD
USMD Health System
Arlington, TX 76017

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This 12-month retrospective study conducted to determine the screening compliance rates for a noninvasive multitarget stool DNA (mt-sDNA) screening test (Cologuard) for colon cancer among a cohort of nearly 400 average-risk Medicare patients who had previously not complied with recommended screening. These were patients who had never had a colonoscopy, had been more than ten years since last colonoscopy, or had been more than one year since last stool testing for occult blood.

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ACA Medicare Changes Increased Diagnosis of Early-Stage Colorectal Cancer Among Seniors.

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nengliang “Aaron” Yao PhD Assistant professor Department of Public Health Sciences University of Virginia

Dr. Nengliang Yao

Nengliang “Aaron” Yao PhD
Assistant professor
Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Virginia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ACA made several changes in Medicare that could increase the use of cancer screening and thus lead to more early cancer diagnoses. This includes waiving patient cost-sharing for screening, waiving patient cost-sharing for one wellness visit per year, and paying bonuses to physicians for doing more work in a primary care setting.

We studied how effective those changes were in facilitating more early diagnoses of breast and colorectal cancers. We found that the changes had no effect on early breast cancer diagnoses (likely because costs and other access barriers for mammograms were already low), but increased the number of early colorectal cancer diagnoses by 8 percent.

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Breast and Prostate Cancer Screenings Have Similar Potential for OverDiagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, MD, Dr. MedSci
The Nordic Cochrane Centre
Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our systematic Cochrane review of the original randomised breast screening trials showed substantial conflict between their estimates of the benefit. Some trials showed a large benefit, others none or a small benefit. This difference was related to the design of the trials.

The most optimistic trials were those with suboptimal randomisation.

The main findings of our current study support those of the most rigorously performed randomised trials: breast screening does not fulfill its fundamental premise, which is to reduce the occurrence of late stage disease. This means a mortality reduction is unlikely and that use of less invasive surgery due to breast screening is also unlikely.

However, we did find very substantial increases in early stage breast cancer, which persisted over our 17 year observation period. This means that breast screening likely leads to substantial overdiagnosis of breast cancers that would otherwise not have caused health problems during a woman’s lifetime. We estimate that 1 in 3 breast cancers detected in a screened population is likely overdiagnosed.

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ACA: Screening Disparities Fall For Mammograms But Not Colonoscopies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD Program Director, Gastroenterology, UH Cleveland Medical Center Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control UH Seidman Cancer Center

Dr. Gregory Cooper

Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD
Program Director, Gastroenterology
UH Cleveland Medical Center
Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center
Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine
Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control
UH Seidman Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Affordable Care Act, among other features, removed out of pocket expenses for approved preventive services, and this may have served as a barrier to cancer screening in socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. If so, then the gap in screening between socioeconomic groups should narrow following the ACA.

The main findings of the study were that although in the pre-ACA era, there were disparities in screening, they narrowed only for mammography and not colonoscopy.

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Is Skin Cancer Screening Cost Effective?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Isabelle Hoorens, MD, PhD

Department of Dermatology
Ghent University Hospital
Ghent, Belgium

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In this study we questioned whether a population-based screening for skin cancer is cost-effective.

In addition we compared the cost-effectiveness of two specific screening techniques. The first technique, a lesion-directed screening being a free-of-charge skin cancer check of a specific lesion meeting 1 or more of the following criteria: ABCD rule (asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, and diameter >6 mm), “ugly duckling” sign, new lesion lasting longer than 4 weeks, or red nonhealing lesions.

The second screening technique consisted of a systematic total body examination in asymptomatic patients. A clinical screening study was performed in Belgium in 2014. Continue reading

Patients and Partners Not Embarrassed To Do Skin Cancer Examinations On Each Other

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

June K. Robinson, MD Research Professor of Dermatology Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Dermatology Chicago, IL 60611

Dr. June Robinson

June K. Robinson, MD
Research Professor of Dermatology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Dermatology
Chicago, IL 60611

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This is a secondary finding from a randomized controlled trial of a structured skills training program for melanoma patients and their skin check partners.

The pairs learned and performed skin self-examination for the early detection of melanoma. They continued to perform skin checks for 2 years and trained pairs identified more early melanoma (melanoma in situ and Stage 1A melanoma) than controls.

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Screening for Colorectal Cancer Issues Evolve For Patients and Physicians

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Lieberman MD Professor of Medicine Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Oregon Health and Science University L461 Portland, OR 97239

Dr. David Lieberman

David Lieberman MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Oregon Health and Science University
Portland, OR 97239

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: New guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening from the USPSTF were published in June 2016. They recommended any of 8 different screening programs.

The purpose of this review was to highlight elements not included in the USPSTF report:
1. Elements of informed decision making associated with each program
2. Quality metrics for each program
3. Recommendations for higher than average risk individuals

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Prevent Cancer Foundation Tool Compares Screening Coverage By Major Health Insurers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carolyn R. Aldigé

Carolyn R. Aldigé

Carolyn R. Aldigé
President of the Prevent Cancer Foundation

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this tool? What types of cancers are covered under this comparison tool?

Response: The coverage tool compares screening coverage by the 30 largest health insurers in the U.S. Consumers can use the tool to see their insurance plans’ policies on coverage of screening tests for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers.

MedicalResearch.com: What are some of the differences in insurance coverage of screening tests?

Response: There is a sizable variation in what insurance plans cover, partly a result of differing screening guidelines from three leading organizations. Though insurance plans are required to cover screenings recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) without a co-pay, many will choose to cover other screening tests as well—but which guidelines do they follow? This is confusing to both patients and providers.

Breast cancer screening is an area where we see big differences in insurance coverage. All 30 plans cover 2D mammography, but only 13 plans cover 3D mammography (tomosynthesis).

Colorectal cancer screening coverage also differs. While almost all plans cover colonoscopy, CT colonography, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and FIT and FOBT screening tests, there are differences in coverage of stool-based DNA tests.

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One Stop Cancer Screening May Increase Participation Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Amanda Bobridge University of South Australia Adelaide

Dr. Amanda Bobridge

Dr. Amanda Bobridge
University of South Australia
Adelaide

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite cancer screening being demonstrated to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, current participation in established screening programs is variable. In Australia, the participation rates range from 37% for bowel cancer (FOBT) screening to 57% for cervical cancer screening.

This study aimed to determine the barriers to and enablers for cancer screening and whether the target population for screening would support the concept of combined cancer screening (all screening offered at the same time at the same location).

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Reported Early Stage Prostate Cancer Incidence Again Decreased

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD Vice President, Surveillance and Health Services Research American Cancer Societ

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD
Vice President, Surveillance and Health Services Research
American Cancer Society

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We previously showed large decrease in early stage prostate cancer incidence rates from 2011 to 2012 in men 50 years and older following the US Preventive services Task Force recommendation against routine prostate-specific antigen testing in 2011. In this paper, we examined whether the decrease in early stage incidence persisted through 2013.

We found that early stage prostate cancer incidence rates in men age 50 and older decreased from 2012 to 2013, although the decrease (6%) was lower compared to the decrease from 2011-2012 (19%). In contrast, rates for distant stage disease between 2012 and 2013 remained unchanged.

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Nearly 1/3 of Elderly Receive Non-Recommended Cancer Screening Tests

More on Cancer Research on MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Firas Abdollah, M.D., F.E.B.U. (Fellow of European Board of Urology) Urology Fellow with the Center for Outcomes Research, Analytics and Evaluation Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit

Dr. Firas Abdollah

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Firas Abdollah, M.D., F.E.B.U.
(Fellow of European Board of Urology) Urology Fellow with the Center for Outcomes Research, Analytics and Evaluation
Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit 

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Abdollah: Cancer screening aims to detect tumors early, before they become symptomatic. Evidence suggests that detection and treatment of early-stage tumors may reduce cancer mortality among screened individuals. Despite this potential benefit, screening programs may also cause harm. Notably, screening may identify low-risk indolent tumors that would never become clinically evident in the absence of screening (overdiagnosis), subjecting patients to the harms of unnecessary treatment. Such considerations are central to screening for prostate and breast cancers, the most prevalent solid tumors in men and women, respectively. These tumors are often slow growing, and guidelines recommend against screening (non-recommended screening) for these tumors in individuals with limited life expectancy, i.e. those with a life expectancy less than 10 years. Unfortunately, our study found that this practice is not uncommon in the US. Using a nationwide representative survey conducted in 2012, we found that among 149,514 individuals 65 years or older, 76,419 (51.1%) received any prostate/breast screening. Among these, 23,532 (30.8%) individuals had a life expectancy of less than 10 years. These numbers imply that among the screened population over 65 years old, almost one in three individuals received a non-recommended screening. This corresponds to an overall rate of non-recommended screening of 15.7% (23,532 of 149,514 individuals).

Another important finding of our study was that there were important variations in the rate of non-recommended screening from state to state; i.e. the chance of an individual older than 65 to receive a non-recommended screening varies based on his/her geographical location in United States.

Finally, on a state-by-state level, there was a correlation (40%) between non-recommended screening for prostate and breast cancer, i.e. states that are more likely to offer non-recommended screening for prostate cancer are also more likely to offer non-recommended screening for breast cancer, and vice versa.

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CT Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines May Miss Some At Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Mithun, M.D.

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Mithun: Lung cancer screening should be pursued for those people at highest risk who are otherwise in good enough health to be able to undergo curative intent treatment if cancer is found. The current criteria for screening recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force of age 55-80 years, 30 pack-years of smoking, and if quit, have done so within 15 years and are based on the National Lung Screening Study (NLST).

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Mithun: Our data was retrospective over a 28 year time period and showed that an increasing number of people who actually got cancer would not have been candidates for screening based on the current criteria.  This suggests there may be some degree of mismatch between risk as defined by the current criteria to screen and those who developed cancer.  An increasing number of those who would not have been candidates for screening yet got lung cancer were among those who quit smoking 15 years or longer.
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Study Aims To Determine Why Patients Drop Out of Colon Cancer Screening

Dr Siu Hing Lo Research Associate in Health Psychology UCL Research Department of Epidemiology and PublicMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Siu Hing Lo

Research Associate in Health Psychology UCL
Research Department of Epidemiology and Public

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lo: Most types of population-based cancer screening – such as the Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test – require repeat participation to be effective. The Faecal Occult Blood test is a stool test that typically needs to be self-completed every two years. This study investigated predictors of repeat participation in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP). Late kit return, a definitive abnormal [FOB test] result and failure to comply with a follow-up colonoscopy in a previous screening episode were consistently and independently associated with lower repeat uptake.

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Telephone Reminders May Increase Breast Cancer Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Dr. Jonathan Myles
Centre for Cancer Prevention, Queen Mary, University of London
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Myles: Breast cancer screening uptake is low in areas of high social deprivation and large populations of some ethnic groups.  The main  finding of this study is that an intervention in the form of contacting women by telephone a few days before the date of their screen, reminding them of their appointment and answering any queries they may have, significantly increases uptake.

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Colon Cancer: Improved Screening and Chemotherapy Contribute To Improved Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Xianglin L. Du, MB, MS, Ph.D. 

Professor of Epidemiology,
Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences,
The University of Texas School of Public Health,
Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Du: Widespread use of screening and advances in screening strategies played a key role in colorectal cancer survival improvement. With the increasing evidence on the benefit of fecal occult blood test and sigmoidoscopy during 1990s, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force for the first time in 1996 recommended the annual use of fecal occult blood test, periodic use of sigmoidoscopy, or routine use of both modalities for all persons aged 50 or older. Because colonoscopy is able to detect lesions in the entire colon and has a high sensitivity for lesions of over 10mm in size, Medicare began to cover colonoscopy since 2001 for individuals with average-risk of colorectal cancer. Advances in chemotherapy, particularly some new therapeutic regimens approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the past decades also played a key role in survival improvement for patients with colorectal cancer. However, the overall impact of newly approved chemotherapy regimens on survival in population-based elderly patients remains unclear. It is also unknown what proportion of survival improvement was attributable to changes in tumor stage and size due to screening, and what proportion was attributable to more effective chemotherapy regimens. Hence, we studied a large nationwide and population-based cohort of elderly colorectal cancer patients to examine the changes in tumor stage and tumor size from 1992 to 2009, and to further quantify the effects of changes in stage/size and chemotherapy regimens on improved survival over the two decades.

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Colon Cancer Screening: Stool Biomarker May Be Equivalent To Colonoscopy

Enrique Quintero MD, PhD President, Asociación Española de Gastroenterología (AEG) Chief of Gastroenterology, Hospital Universitario de Canarias Professor of Medicine, Universidad de La Laguna La Laguna. Tenerife SpainMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Enrique Quintero MD, PhD
President, Asociación Española de Gastroenterología (AEG)
Chief of Gastroenterology, Hospital Universitario de Canarias
Professor of Medicine, Universidad de La Laguna
La Laguna. Tenerife Spain

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Quintero: First degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) are at increased risk of developing the disease compared with the general population. For that reason, clinical practice guidelines recommend colonoscopy every five years starting at the age of 40 years or ten years less than the youngest case in the family. However, this approach has some drawbacks:

  • first, several studies have shown that the benefit of colonoscopy is limited by a low uptake (less than 40%);
  • second, it represents an important colonoscopy burden, as about 70-80% of explorations are normal or without relevant lesions, which implies a high resource consumption; and
  • third, this recommendation is not based on evidence, as no randomized controlled trials have compared the efficacy of screening colonoscopy with that of other strategies.On the other hand, pilot studies have shown that one-time fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) have acceptable capacity to detect advanced neoplasia (defined as cancer or advanced adenoma) in family members of patients with CRC. For these reasons we conducted a prospective randomized trial to compare the efficacy of repeated fecal immunochemical tests versus one-time colonoscopy for detecting advanced colorectal neoplasia in asymptomatic FDRs of patients with colorectal cancer.

The main finding of our study was that cumulative fecal immunochemical tests screening (1 per year, during 3 years), yielded an equivalent detection rate to one-time colonoscopy for cancer, advanced adenoma and advanced neoplasia both by intention-to-screen and per-protocol analysis, after controlling for confounders such as age, gender, index-case age, and number of affected relatives. In fact, FIT detected all cancers and 61% of advanced adenomas. In addition, the study confirmed that the number of subjects requiring colonoscopy to detect one advanced neoplasm was 4 times less in individuals screened by FIT than in those screened by colonoscopy. Therefore, FIT may save a substantial number of unnecessary colonoscopies, preventing harms and lowering costs. Continue reading

Does Malpractice Fear Drive Overuse of Esophageal Cancer Screening?

Megan A. Adams, MD Gastroenterology Fellow University of MichiganMedicalResearch.com Interview with
Megan A. Adams, MD
Gastroenterology Fellow
University of Michigan

 

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Adams: Surveys of doctors indicate that their fear of a malpractice lawsuit for missing a diagnosis of esophageal cancer might drive the overuse of tests called upper endoscopies in patients who are at low risk for the cancer. To examine whether this perception of medical liability risk accurately reflects the real likelihood of a malpractice claim, we looked at a national database of malpractice claims, and compared the rate of claims for delay in diagnosis of esophageal cancer in patients without alarm symptoms (weight loss, dysphagia, iron deficiency anemia), with the rate of claims alleging performance of an upper endoscopy without a good reason for performing the procedure.

The database contained 278,220 claims filed against physicians in 1985-2012. The incidence of reported medical liability claims for failure to screen for esophageal cancer in patients without alarm features was quite low (19 claims in 11 years, 4 paid). In contrast, there were 17 claims in 28 years for complications of upper endoscopies with questionable indication (8 paid).

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Study Finds Breast Cancer Screening Should Begin Around Age 40

Blake Cady MD Professor Emeritus of Surgery Brown UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Blake Cady MD
Professor of Surgery (emeritus) at Harvard Medical School
Partners HealthCare, Harvard Medical
School institutions, Boston


Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Cady:  Our findings support mammography screening, and our data is consistent
with the randomized trials. Breast cancer screening with mammography is the most extensively researched screening method ever studied. Only one  “randomized” trial failed to show reduced mortality, (Canadian NCSS studies),  and there were major flaws in its design and execution that negate their results, as noted in multiple critical publications (volunteers, not geographic assignment, palpable masses detected at examination assigned to “screening” arm, large contamination bias (control group got screened anyway), and very poor quality of mammography). Yet it is this NCSS study that is cited by critics and the press.  “Failure Analyses” look backward from death, rather than forward from assignment in randomized trials. The concept of failure studies is well established as noted in recent reports of air-bag failures in cars, and many industrial studies. Seat belt prevention of deaths was discovered by police recording injuries and deaths in crashes after the fact – a failure analysis – not by randomized clinical trials. In breast cancer, failure analyses have advantages of little cost, early results, simplicity, and convenience, compared to randomized trials. Since our results support findings from randomized clinical trials (RCT), they can be accepted as reliable and accurate.

Our findings show that about 71% of deaths from breast cancer occur in the  approximately 20% of our patients not in regular screening programs, while only 29% of deaths occur in the 80% of women who were regularly screened by mammography. By extrapolation, women regularly screened have only about a 5% breast cancer mortality, but women not screened have close to a 50% mortality.

(This is my extrapolation from our data, not direct data from our “Failure Analysis”)
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Should Routine Breast Cancer Screening Stop At Age 70?

Nienke de Glas, MD PhD-student Leiden University Medical Center Department of Surgery Leiden The NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nienke de Glas, MD PhD-student
Leiden University Medical Center
Department of Surgery
Leiden The Netherlands

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. de Glas: It remains unclear whether mass breast cancer screening has a beneficial effect in older women. In the Netherlands, the upper age limit of the breast cancer screening program was extended from 69 to 75 years in 1998. If a screening program is effective, it can be expected that the incidence of early stage tumours increases, while the incidence of advanced stage tumours decreases. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of early stage and advanced stage breast cancer before and after the implementation of mass screening in women aged 70-75 years in the Netherlands. We showed that the extension of the upper age limit to 75 years has only led to a small decrease of advanced stage breast cancer, while the incidence of early stage tumours has strongly increased. For every advanced stage tumour that was prevented, 20 “extra” and early stage tumours were diagnosed.
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Bowel Cancer Screening May Have Small Unwanted Lifestyle Effect

Paula Berstad, PhD, postdoc Telemark Hospital c/o Cancer Registry of Norway Oslo, NorwayMedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation
Paula Berstad, PhD, postdoc

Telemark Hospital
c/o Cancer Registry of Norway
Oslo, Norway

 

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Berstad: In general population of age 50-55 years, both those invited to bowel cancer screening in year 2001 by flexible sigmoidoscopy and those not invited improved their lifestyle from year 2001 to 2012. Lifestyle was measured as adherence to public health guidelines; non-smoking, daily physical exercise, healthy diet and normal body weight. However, the 11-year improvement was smaller in those who were screened for bowel cancer compared to those not screened. Further, among those who attended the screening, the improvement was smaller in those with findings at screening (positive screening result) compared to those without findings (negative screening result). Our interpretation of the findings is that bowel cancer screening may have a small unwanted effect on lifestyle. Particularly, attention should be given to lifestyle among those testing positive at screening.
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New Home Test Allows For Non-Invasive Colon Cancer Screening

Cologuard® is designed to detect DNA alternations and blood released from cancerous and precancerous colon lesions.Exact Sciences Corp announced the introduction of a new home test, Cologuard®, for the detection of colon polyps and colon cancer. The test will be first offered to patients through the Mayo Clinic, whose researchers helped develop the new screening technology.

Cologuard® is designed to detect DNA alternations and blood released from cancerous and precancerous colon lesions. The test requires a prescription and express mail access. The Cologuard® kit is mailed to the patient who completes the test at home, and then is mailed back to a laboratory for processing. The patient should receive the results within two weeks. Patients who have a positive (abnormal) test result will require follow up colonoscopy.
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Colon Cancer: Improving Determinants of Who Should Be Screened

Sameer Saini MD Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sameer Saini MD
Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research,
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Saini: The way that quality measures are defined can have important implications for how care is actually delivered. Current colorectal cancer screening quality measures use age to identify screen-eligible patients, encouraging screening in patients between 50 and 75 years of age. But they do not explicitly incorporate health status. In this context, our study had two main findings.

  • First, by focusing on age alone, we are not screening everyone who is likely to benefit. Specifically, many healthy people over 75 years of age (who are outside the target age range of the quality measure) may benefit from screening, but the current measure does not encourage screening in this population, leading to low screening use.
  • Second, some people who are NOT likely to benefit are being screened unnecessarily, like those with serious health problems. For example, people between ages 70-75 with serious health problems (who have limited life expectancy) are unlikely to benefit from screening, and may even be harmed by it. But the current quality measure encourages screening in such individuals due to their age, yielding relatively high screening rates. If the system focused on age and health status (rather than age alone), screening use would be more aligned with screening benefit, and we would have better health outcomes.

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Patient Preferences for Cancer Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Jonathan Banks  Programme Manager: The Discovery Research Programme  Centre for Academic Primary Care  NIHR School for Primary Care Research  School of Social and Community Medicine  University of Bristol  Bristol BS8 2PSDr Jonathan Banks
Programme Manager: The Discovery Research Programme
Centre for Academic Primary Care
NIHR School for Primary Care Research
School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol  Bristol BS8 2PS

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Banks: We asked members of the public attending their local general practice or
primary care centre to consider a series of hypothetical scenarios or
vignettes which depicted cancer symptoms, their risk of cancer and the
investigative processes involved in testing for cancer. We wanted to
measure the point at which the risk of cancer outweighed the burden and
inconvenience of testing in relation to lung, colorectal and pancreas
cancers. Most people, around 88%, opted for testing even at the lowest risk
of cancer which in our vignettes was 1%. Further analyses showed variation
between cancers with fewer people opting for testing for colorectal cancer
at a low (1%) risk and more people choosing to be tested for all cancers in
the 60-69 age group.
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Cancer Screening Trials: Weighing the Harms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bruno Heleno, PhD fellow
Research Unit for General Practice and Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, PO Box 2099, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In a literature review of cancer screening trials of a wide range of screening interventions, we found that trials seldom report the information necessary to weigh benefits against harms.

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Colon Cancer: Screening and Mortality

Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H. Dept. of Medicine GI Division, MMC 36 University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H.
Dept. of Medicine
GI Division, MMC 36
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Shaukat: The study showed that screening for colon cancer using stool cards
consistently reduces risk of death from colon cancer by one-third through
thirty years. The benefit of screening in larger in men compared to women,
and for women the benefit seems to start at age 60. However, screening did
not make people live longer. Continue reading

Improved Screening for Colon Cancer: Offering Immunochemical Test vs Colonoscopy

MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS

San Diego Veterans Affairs Healthcare System
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine
Moores Cancer Center
University of California San Diego

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Gupta: In a randomized, comparative effectiveness study among uninsured individuals not up to date with screening, we found that mailed outreach invitations to complete colonoscopy outreach, and mailed outreach to complete a non-invasive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) tripled screening rates compared to usual care. Additionally, we found that outreach was almost twice as effective with offers for FIT versus colonoscopy screening.

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