More Cancer Screening Raises Odds of False Positives

-- Jane Parry

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have 14 or more cancer screening tests have at least a 50 percent chance of a false-positive result, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, while another study in the same issue classifies the ways in which patients may contribute to errors in their medical care.

Jennifer Miller Croswell, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial of 68,436 participants randomized to screening or usual care, and found that the cumulative risk of at least one false-positive test was 60.4 percent for men and 48.8 percent for women after 14 tests.

Stephen Buetow, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted interviews with 11 groups of patients and primary health care professionals and classified 70 potential types of patient error in a three-level system. The authors found that most errors were either action errors such as attendance and adherence errors, or mental errors such as memory, mindfulness, or judgment errors.

"Our study also shows how patients, clinicians, and systems can co-create errors," Buetow and colleagues write. "There is a need, therefore, to move beyond seeing patient, clinician, and system errors as separate categories of error, since they are interdependent rather than mutually exclusive.

Abstract - Croswell
Full Text
Abstract - Buetow
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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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