Cancer survivors may seek unneeded tests for reassurance

(Reuters Health) – Lots of people who survive cancer fear recurrence after their treatment ends, based on research that implies these concerns can lead to unnecessary tests.

Data from 12 formerly printed studies involving 849 patients reveal that after finishing treatment, patients want as numerous follow-up exams and tests as you possibly can to reassure them that tumors haven’t came back, researchers found.

“Patients want intensive follow-up which comprises lots of testing,” stated senior study author Geertruida de Bock, from the College of Groningen within the Netherlands.

“Though this really is understandable, it’s not desirable since take care of cancer has already been pressurized because of rising figures of survivors,” de Bock stated by email.

Worldwide, an believed 33 million individuals are cancer survivors. Their ranks are anticipated to develop because of rising cancer rates within an aging population in addition to improved survival odds with advances in treatment and diagnosis.

As cancer more and more turns into a chronic disease rather of the dying sentence, doctors and people are battling to strike the best balance between doing enough follow-up tests to trap any new tumors rapidly and staying away from a lot of pointless tests that can result in unnecessary interventions that do not help people live longer.

Cancer survivors typically get care centered on monitoring for that return of tumors or the introduction of malignancies in other areas of the body. This could include invasive tests like biopsies in addition to costly imaging like positron emission tomographic (PET) checking.

Guidelines for follow-up tests rely on many factors including the kind of cancer, how advanced it had been when it was initially detected and treated, and individual patient characteristics like age along with other health issues.

As the current analysis didn’t check out the connection between giving cancer survivors a lot of or too couple of tests, it provides fresh evidence that patients may frequently want more testing than doctors must do according to current treatment guidelines.

For instance, some patients stated the entire process of getting good tests and awaiting the outcomes built them into anxious, however, many patients also stated they desired to continue an eternity of intensive follow-up testing.

Patients frequently stated they’d lost confidence within their body and feared recurrence a lot they requested screenings they understood may not be needed. Additionally they expressed a wish for mental healthcare and mental support.

The research wasn’t a controlled experiment made to test how or maybe patients’ preferences about follow-up care influence strategy to cancer survivors.

Nevertheless, the findings claim that doctors and patients might need to convey more-frank conversations about how exactly follow-up tests might help so when extensive testing may do more damage than good.

Patients should understand the number of recurrent cancers are usually detected having a specific make sure how frequently they may get what’s referred to as a false-positive result, once the test result shows that tumors have came back despite the fact that it is not the situation, de Bock stated. False negatives, when individuals with new tumors think they’re cancer-free, will also be possible.

“Intensive surveillance can result in false-good results and also to unnecessary tests and potentially dangerous biopsies of suspicious lesions seen on body imaging,” stated Dr. Carlos Barcenas, from the College of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “In addition, an incorrect-negative consequence of an evaluation might also provide a false reassurance to some patient.”

“Patients and doctors should clearly discuss the surveillance plan after active treatments have completely finished and clarify expectations,” stated Barcenas, who wasn’t active in the study.

SOURCE: Maturitas, online This summer 5, 2017.

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