Key findings

  • Millions of Americans get preventive screenings more frequently that medically recommended or at times when they cannot gain any proven benefit
  • Medicare spent about $1.9 billion on common cancer screenings for people who were older than government recommended age limits between 2003 and 2008
  • The $1.9 billion represents about 40 percent of everything Medicare spent on breast, colon, prostate and cervical cancer screenings in that time period
  • More than $31 million of that money was spent screening people in their 90s
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government advisory panel  of independent medical experts, is considered the gold standard in determining appropriate care, but its recommendation are often ignored