(HealthDay News) — For cancer screening in Medicare beneficiaries, there is substantial agreement for different prognostic tools for short- and long-term survival, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Craig Evan Pollack, MD, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues examined agreement for 4 indices for breast and prostate cancer screening in predicting short-term (4-5 years) and long-term (9-10 years) survival. Data were included for 9,469 Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 to 90 years with survey and claims data.

The researchers observed high agreement between the 4 prognostic tools, with Pearson correlation coefficients varying from 0.63 to 0.90 for short-term and 0.68 to 0.94 for long-term survival. In 96.4% of the sample, all 4 tools agreed when defining limited short-term life expectancy as less than 25% chance of surviving 4 or 5 years. In 77.1% of participants, all 4 tools agreed in their placement of participants into limited or not-limited long-term life expectancy (<25% chance of surviving 9 or 10 years). Regardless of the tool used, rates of cancer screening were similarly high in individuals with limited long-term life expectancy.

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“There is substantial agreement among different prognostic tools for short- and long-term survival in Medicare beneficiaries,” the authors write. “The high rates of cancer screening of individuals with limited life expectancy suggest the importance of incorporating tools into clinical decision-making.”

One author disclosed financial ties to UpToDate.


  1. Pollack CE, Blackford AL, Schoenborn NL, et al. Comparing Prognostic Tools for Cancer Screening: Considerations for Clinical Practice and Performance Assessment. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14089.