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May 17, 2016

Reducing Variation in the “Standard of Care” for Cancer Screening: Recommendations From the PROSPR Consortium

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland
  • 2Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Health Systems and Interventions Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;315(19):2067-2068. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.3067

Standard of care for cancer screening: the term implies certainty and consensus. Physicians, patients, and organizations have created guidelines, policies, and regulations regarding how, when, and for whom screening should be used or reimbursed; cumulatively, these statements become the standards of care. However, these standards vary markedly across organ type, often without rationale or evidence.

In this Viewpoint, we highlight 3 areas in which cancer screening standards differ markedly for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer: funding, quality measures, and reporting. These variations were delineated through a cross-disciplinary collaboration among scientists, health care organizations, and society leaders within the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening Through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR) consortium.1 PROSPR studies how breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening is implemented in diverse, real-world settings.