Patients screened for lung cancer recurrence (return of cancer after treatment) with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) showed more false-positive results (meaning that the test shows that cancer is present when follow-up testing finds no cancer) than a chest x-ray, according to a new study. LDCT scans and chest x-rays are procedures that create a picture of the inside of the body. After one scan, the false positive rate was 21% for LDCT and 9% for chest x-ray. After two scans, the rates of false-positive results increased to 33% with LDCT and 15% for a chest x-ray.
What this means for patients
“All medical tests, including screening tests, have benefits and risks,” said lead author Jennifer M. Croswell, MD, Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health Office of Medical Applications of Research. “We want to give people who are considering lung cancer screening the information they need to make informed decisions about the tests they choose.” False-positive test results can lead to additional follow-up testing, invasive procedures, or surgery for the patient. In addition, false-positive results may also cause more anxiety for the patient.
What to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of follow-up care do you recommend?
- What type of screening do you recommend to look for a lung cancer recurrence?
- If a suspected recurrence is found, what follow-up tests are needed?
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Cancer Screening