Campus News

College of Public Health professor quoted in Reuters

Mark Ebell, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the College of Public Health, was quoted in Reuters about lung screening complications.

Many doctors advise older adults who are current or former smokers to get an annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography. But with LDCT, more than one in four patients get false-positive results.

In a recent study, researchers examined nationwide data on patients ages 55 to 77 who had invasive diagnostic procedures to look for lung cancer between 2008 and 2013. Complication rates in the study ranged from about 19 percent after needle biopsies to as high as 52 percent after surgery. Costs of these complications ranged from an average of $6,320 to $56,845 and varied by severity, patient age and type of follow-up procedure.

“The patients most likely to experience a net benefit are those 60 to 69 years who are current smokers,” said Ebell, who was not involved in the study. “Older patients often have more health problems that limit their ability to benefit from screening, and those who have quit smoking 5 to 10 years ago are at significantly lower risk.”