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September 12, 2001

Discussing Cancer Screening With Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

JAMA. 2001;286(10):1175-1176. doi:10.1001/jama.286.10.1173

To the Editor: Drs Walter and Covinsky provided a method for clinicians and elderly patients to make individualized, informed decisions.1 However, I wonder if it is possible to express their results as the average number of additional days of life that a patient at each age and health quartile would expect to gain if he or she participated in screening for that particular cancer. Patients might be able to understand this more easily than the number needed to screen (NNS) over remaining lifetimes to prevent 1 cancer-specific death.

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