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Primary care physicians surveyed in this study mistakenly interpreted improved survival and increased detection with screening as evidence that screening saves lives
  1. Alfredo Morabia
  1. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Alfredo Morabia
    Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, Room 736, New York, NY 10032, USA; am52{at}columbia.edu

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Context

Primary care physicians need to interpret results of randomised controlled trials assessing the efficacy of screening tests, but there is no evidence that they interpret screening-related statistics correctly.

Methods

A National sample of 412 US primary care physicians was asked in 2010 and 2011 to say in which of two scenarios a cancer screening test saved lives: (A) a screening test for cancer X is associated with an improved 5-year survival (if screened: 99% survival, if not screened: 68%) and more detection of stage 1 cancers (if screened: 54% detection, if not screened: 36% detection); (B) a screening …

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