Evaluation of cancer service screening: case referent studies recommended

Verbeek, André LM; Broeders, Mireille JM
October 2010
Statistical Methods in Medical Research;Oct2010, Vol. 19 Issue 5, p487
Academic Journal
Various cancer screening trials, randomised or otherwise controlled, have demonstrated reductions in cancer mortality. As a consequence, population screening programmes have been implemented. In the mean time, major advances are being made in early detection and treatment modalities of specific cancers and pre-cancers. The impact of these improvements should have bearing on the beneficial effect of periodical screening in preventing cancer death. To monitor these dynamics in the effectiveness of screening, case-referent studies are designed. The effectiveness is estimated by calculating an odds ratio indicating the cancer death rate in screened versus not screened invitees. The major criticisms of case referent studies are potential selection bias and confounding bias of the odds ratio. By properly designing and applying sensitivity analyses these biases can be minimised.


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