News Perspectives

Many Get Cancer Screening at Advanced Ages

Many older adults who are unlikely to live more than 10 years still are given routine screening tests for cancer, new studies show. But those tests are unlikely to help them and may have risks, the authors say. One study used 10 years of data from a U.S. government health survey. It included 27,000 men and women ages 65 and older. Based on their health history, the authors estimated their risk of dying in less than 10 years. Among men at the highest risk of near-term death, 31% to 55% received screening tests for various types of cancer. A second story focused on screening for colon cancer in adults 65 or older. It was based on Medicare records. About 1 in 5 of those who had a colonoscopy that found no problems ended up having another colonoscopy 5 years later. This test is recommended every 10 years.

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