Top 20 Research Studies of 2017 for Primary Care Physicians

Mark H. Ebell, MD, MS; Roland Grad, MD, MSc,


Am Fam Physician. 2018;97(9):581-588. 

In This Article


Three POEMs address screening (Table 5).[26–28] Study 16 is a meta-analysis that confirms that the widely used two-question screen for depression helps rule out depression in older adults; however, as in younger patients, one or more positive responses is not diagnostic for depression and requires further confirmation.[26] Study 17 is long-term follow-up of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening trial, and continues to find no mortality benefit for prostate cancer screening.[27] Current guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Urological Association, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that screening should be considered only for men 55 (age 50 for ACP) to 69 years of age after a discussion of the potential benefits (which are small) and the potential harms (which are common). Finally, discussing the decision to discontinue cancer screening can be difficult for patients and physicians. Study 18, a qualitative study, found that saying "This test will not help you live longer," rather than focusing on the patient's limited lifespan, is the preferred approach.[28]