Unnecessary Prostate Cancer Scans Cost $35 Million Annually, Researchers Explain

Many men who do not need additional scans still receive them

A group of researchers explain that many prostate cancer patients are getting image scans done even though an expert has not recommended them. On the other hand, nearly 40 percent of patients considered to be ‘high-risk’ are actually not receiving the same scans.

University of Chicago researchers explain that more than 35 percent of men who have prostate cancer that is considered to be low-risk receive MRI, CT, or PET scans, all of which are expensive and typically unnecessary.

Experts explain the chances of discovering cancer beyond the prostate area in low-risk patients is just fractions of 1 percent. In fact, experts believe low-risk patients should not receive any of these scans.

Regardless, the most concerning discovery was that close to 40 percent of men considered to have prostate cancer classified as high-risk actually do not receive any additional image scans. In this case, experts believe every single man in this category should receive additional body scans.

Researchers estimate the cost of the unnecessary images performed on men from this study alone to be nearly $35 million of American taxpayer money.

The study involved 30,183 men, less than 10,000 of whom classified as low-risk.

Researchers noticed that men who have a higher level of education typically follow the recommended guidelines when compared to those with lower levels of education.