(HealthDay News) — Among Swedish men diagnosed with prostate cancer, imaging use has decreased over a 10-year period, particularly among low-risk patients, according to a study published online July 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Danil V. Makarov, M.D., M.H.S., from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in New York City, and colleagues analyzed imaging use over time by clinical risk category and geographic regions in a cohort of 99,879 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) of Sweden from 1998 to 2009. To decrease the rates of inappropriate screening, since 2000, the NPCR has disseminated utilization data along with the latest imaging guidelines. The temporal and regional effects of this effort were examined.

The researchers found that, within 6 months of prostate cancer diagnosis, 36% of men underwent imaging. Over time, imaging use decreased, particularly in the low-risk category (imaging rate decreased from 45% to 3%; P < 0.001), but also in the high-risk category (decrease from 63% to 47%; P < 0.001). All regions experienced clinically and statistically significant decreases in prostate cancer imaging, despite substantial regional variation.

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“A Swedish effort to provide data on prostate cancer imaging use and imaging guidelines to clinicians was associated with a reduction in inappropriate imaging over a 10-year period, as well as slightly decreased appropriate imaging in high-risk patients,” the authors write.