(HealthDay News) — Adherence to screening recommendations for breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancer may have translated to as many as 16.2 million life-years gained in the United States, according to research published in BMC Health Services Research.

Researchers used a mathematical model to estimate the aggregate benefits of screening for breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancer over time using US census data. The researchers estimated the full potential benefits with perfect adherence and the benefits considering reported adherence for each screening type.

Up to 417 million people were eligible for cancer screening since US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations were introduced.

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Assuming perfect adherence to USPSTF recommendations, the life-years gained from screening for all 4 cancers were estimated to be 15.5 to 21.3 million life-years since the introduction of the recommendations. The estimated life-years gained were highest for cervical cancer (11.4 to 12.3 million), followed by breast cancer (2.2 to 4.9 million), colorectal cancer (1.4 to 3.6 million), and lung cancer (0.5 million).

Using current adherence rates, screening for all 4 cancers saved an estimated 12.2 to 16.2 million life-years. The estimated life-years gained were 9.9 to 10.6 million for cervical cancer, 1.6 to 3.6 million for breast cancer, 0.7 to 1.9 million for colorectal cancer, and 0.08 million for lung cancer.

These benefits represent a value of $8.2 to $11.3 trillion with perfect adherence and $6.5 to $8.6 trillion with current adherence.

“Although gaps persist between the full potential benefit and benefits considering adherence, existing cancer screening technologies have offered significant value to the US population,” the researchers wrote. “Technologies and policy interventions that can improve adherence and/or expand the number of cancer types tested will provide significantly more value and save significantly more patient lives.”

Several researchers disclosed ties to Grail LLC, which funded the study.

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