Based on solid evidence, some lung cancers detected by screening chest x-ray and/or sputum cytology appear to represent overdiagnosed cancer. Because of comorbidities, harms of diagnostic procedures and treatment may be most frequent among long-term and/or heavy smokers.
Magnitude of Effect: When calculated as the ratio of all lung cancer cases in the intervention arm to those in the control arm (percent excess cases), the magnitude of overdiagnosis ranges from 6% to 17% .
Study Design: Randomized controlled trials.
Internal Validity: Good.
External Validity: Good.
Oken MM, Hocking WG, Kvale PA, et al.: Screening by chest radiograph and lung cancer mortality: the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) randomized trial. JAMA 306 (17): 1865-73, 2011.
Marcus PM, Bergstralh EJ, Zweig MH, et al.: Extended lung cancer incidence follow-up in the Mayo Lung Project and overdiagnosis. J Natl Cancer Inst 98 (11): 748-56, 2006.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
May 28, 2015
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