Viewpoint: Here’s why we should cut back on cancer screening for the elderly

| | August 21, 2019
img elderly man with doctor
Image: South Eastern
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Although some of my patients are still working full time or traveling the world in their 70s and 80s, I usually see patients who have accumulated a number of serious illnesses, need to take multiple medications, and can no longer manage their daily activities without help. These patients, whose life expectancies tend to be less than 10 years, are unlikely to reap a benefit from cancer screening and are at increased risk of experiencing short-term harms and burdens, including complications from screening and follow-up tests, over-diagnosis and over-treatment of clinically unimportant cancers, diverted attention from other health priorities, and psychological stress.

To explore what older patients and their doctors think about stopping cancer screening, several colleagues and I interviewed 40 older adults and 28 primary care clinicians. 

Related article:  Viewpoint: Targeting amyloid deposits isn’t working. It's time for a new approach for Alzheimer’s treatments

There are several take-home messages from this work. One is that many older adults are willing to stop routine cancer screening when it makes sense to do so, especially when they trust their doctors. Another is that not all older adults may want to hear about life expectancy when thinking about cancer screening, and framing the decision as a shift in health priorities may be a better approach.

Read full, original post: Some people should stop being screened for cancer. Convincing them isn’t always easy

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend