International Journal of Hematology and Oncology 2020, Vol 30, Num 2 Page(s): 226-236
USE OF SCREENING TESTS IN CANCER EPIDEMIOLOGY: MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

BANU ÇAKIR

Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Halk Sağlığı AD

Keywords: screeening tests, cancer epidemiology, confounding
Screening tests are widely used in contemporary research on etiology and burden of cancer. Currently, screening tests are available for detecting high risk individuals and/or for population-wide screening of a variety of cancers, particularly lung, breast, cervix and colorectal cancers, with an ultimate objective of early diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. In paralel to an increase in availability and use of screening tests, importance of related ethical, legal, social and methodologic issues become quite evident. Therefore, clinicians working in oncology should be well aware of the epidemiologic characteristics of screening tests, their advantages and limitations, and also the major methodologic issues related to analyses and/or interpretation of screening tests. This review summarizes the major types and characteristics of available cancer screening tests; discusses the main objectives and principles of such tests; discusses how to conduct validity and reliability analyses of new screening tests; and, lastly, points at the methodologic issues to be considered in evaluating the history of cancer screening of individuals included in cancer-related analytic studies.