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Unexpected weight loss may merit cancer screening for certain primary care patients

Journal
BMJ
Reuters Health - 16/09/2020 - While most primary care patients presenting with unexpected weight loss have less than a 2% chance of being diagnosed with cancer over the next six months, a new UK study suggests that certain people - including older male ever smokers - have a greater risk and require urgent cancer investigation. Researchers examined electronic health records data on 63,973 patients aged 18 and older who presented to primary care with unexpected weight loss from 2000 to 2012. Overall, a total of 908 patients (1.4%) had a cancer diagnosis within six months; nearly all of these cancer patients (97.1%) were over age 50. Males who were current or former smokers and over 50, however, had a positive predictive value (PPV) of cancer above the 3% threshold that warrants urgent investigation under UK guidelines, the study found. Several clinical features were also associated with PPV of cancer above the 3% threshold in both men and women: abdominal mass,...


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