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Cancer: Sensitivity and Specificity

Introduction: Malignant neoplasm is often on the differential diagnosis of patient presentations, especially patients with so-called "B symptoms" such as fevers or weight loss.

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Tags: Neoplasm Tag this Diagnosis.

Prevalence

Population / CalculatorPrevalence Comments / Study / Link
Patients admitted to Internal Medicine 4% Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jul-Sep;37(3):261-7. PMID: 15532304
Patients with involuntary weight loss 31% (24%) Eur J Intern Med. 2006 Jan;17(1):28-31. PMID: 16378882

(38%) Am J Med. 2003 Jun 1;114(8):631-7. PMID: 12798450

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The sensitivity and specificity of findings for Cancer are listed below. See the left navigation bar to change the display.

Specific Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Weight loss Edit 46%94%

in unselected patients admitted to the hospital

Study: Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jul-Sep;37(3):261-7. PMID: 15532304

Anemia Edit 37%92%

Hgb < 10.5

in unselected patients admitted to the hospital

Study: Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jul-Sep;37(3):261-7. PMID: 15532304

Elevated ESR Edit 52%89%

>=50mm/hr. in unselected patients admitted to the hospital

Study: Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jul-Sep;37(3):261-7. PMID: 15532304

Sensitive Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Panel of Blood Tests Edit 95%35%

Any of: abnormal CBC, Albumin < 3.5, abnormal LFTs, LDH > 500

in patients with unexplained involuntary weight loss. The conclusions is that a panel of blood tests will discover virtually all cancers in these patients.

Study: Am J Med. 2003 Jun 1;114(8):631-7 PMID: 12798450