Background: Mass-screening programs are necessary to prevent or even cure colorectal cancer. A criticism of screening however has been the risk of patient misinterpretation of the result, specifically the Health Certificate Effect. The study’s aim is to examine whether a screening result could change the amount of health care services used in six different lifestyle related diseases.
Method: A sample of 100,116 patients from the NORCCAP trial was studied from 1998 to 2003. Each patient with one of the six lifestyle related disease groups was identified and tracked over the six years. A logistic panel regression method was used to see if health care usage in each of the six lifestyle-related disease groups changed following the screening outcome. Changes in disease related health care usage was compared to a control group.
Results: Screening results did appear to change the incidence of lifestyle related diseases, however not all of the results could be explained by a Health Certificate Effect. Participants who had a negative test result did appear to be at an increased risk for required outpatient care for complications relating to Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension.
Conclusion: Attention must be paid to the effects of screening outcomes when evaluating a mass-screening program. This study has demonstrated that screening results can change the risk of requiring care for other lifestyle-related diseases.