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December 1992

Screening for Cancers of the Lung and Colon

Author Affiliations

From the Sections of Hematology and Medical Oncology (Dr RichertBoe) and General Internal Medicine (Dr Humphrey), Medical Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Department of Medicine, The Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(12):2398-2404. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400240022003

Lung and colorectal cancer are the first and second lead. ing causes of death from cancer among Americans. It is only natural that there should be considerable interest in trying to prevent deaths from these diseases through early detection and treatment. However, widespread screening is expensive and logistically difficult, therefore the ability of screening tests to reduce cancer mortality must be well established before they are put into common practice. The basic principles of screening, including the characteristics of diseases and tests suitable for screening, biases that can affect uncontrolled studies of screening tests, and costs of screening are discussed in part 2 of this article.1

In this article, we critically analyze the data regarding the effectiveness of screening tests in reducing mortality from lung and colorectal cancer and discuss the controversies surrounding their use. As in our previous article, the quality of the data for each test will

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