Despite potential risks and limited benefits, many Americans are still screened for cancers toward the end of their lives, according to a new study.

Up to half of older people in the U.S. received cancer screenings even though there was a high likelihood that they would die within nine years without cancer, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“There is general agreement that routine cancer screening has little likelihood to result in a net benefit for individuals with limited life expectancy,” write Dr. Trevor Royce and his fellow researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Several professional societies have updated their cancer screening guidelines to suggest that people who aren’t expected to live another 10 years should not be screened for certain cancers.

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