Cancer Screening and Surveillance Testing for Older Adult Cancer Survivors

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Nancy L. Keating
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In older adult cancer survivors, cancer screening and surveillance testing carry benefits and harms that depend on a variety of factors. Benefits of screening include early diagnosis and a lower risk of death from cancer. Harms include false-positive results, unnecessary biopsies, incidental findings, and overdiagnosis. The primary factor in deciding whether older adult cancer survivors should undergo screening or surveillance testing is life expectancy, but other factors also come into play, such as a patient’s health status, goals, and values. An individualized approach as well as shared decision-making are crucial when working with patients to make these important decisions.

Disclosures: Dr. Keating has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Correspondence: Nancy L. Keating, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Department of Health Care Policy, 180 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Email:
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