Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine looked at the evidence o
n 39 screening tests for 19 major diseases. The authors found that in cases in which death is a common outcome of the cancer it was highly uncommon to find that the use of screening tests, like mammograms and PSA testing, led to well-documented reductions in the number of deaths due to that type of cancer. In other words, the widespread use of the test to screen for that particular cancer did not reduce the chance of dying from that type of cancer, and did not reduce the chance of dying from any other cause as well.
January 14, 2015
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Screening for disease is a key component of modern healthcare. Yet, new surprising new research shows that few currently available screening tests for major diseases where death is a common outcome have documented reductions in disease-specific mortality. Evidence was evaluated on 16 screening tests for 9 major diseases where mortality is a common outcome. The researchers found 45 randomized controlled trials and 98 meta-analyses that evaluated disease-specific or all-cause mortality. Reductions in disease-specific mortality were uncommon and reductions in all-cause mortality were very uncommon.