Some people should stop being screened for cancer. Convincing them isn’t always easy

Abstract: The catch-cancer-early-save-a-life trope is a bit misleading: the benefit of some tests is smaller than I had initially thought. Say 1,000 women have biennial mammograms between the ages of 50 and 74. Those 12,000 mammograms would prevent seven deaths from breast cancer. Yearly PSA testing among 1,000 men between the ages of 55 and 69 would lead to one to two fewer deaths from prostate cancer. Yet many of these patients are wary when I broach the idea of stopping screening.

STAT News op-ed by Nancy L. Schoenborn