The recent tendency of Japanese towards greater acceptance of being informed that they have cancer, along with the growing understanding and use of informed consent, appears to have improved the accuracy of self-reported cancer. To clarify the recent validity of self-reports, we measured the sensitivity and positive predictive value of self-reported cancer among a Japanese population. Using a 10-year follow-up questionnaire conducted in 2000-2004 and the cancer registry of the JPHC Study cohort (n=93,680), we calculated the sensitivity and positive predictive value of self-reported cancer diagnoses over 10 years. Sensitivity and positive predictive value of total self-reported cancer diagnoses were 53% and 60%, respectively, but varied by site, at 62% and 52% for stomach, 38% and 47% for colorectum, 57% and 46% for lung, 34% and 31% for liver, 82% and 58% for breast, and 59% and 22% for uterus, respectively. Sensitivity was considerably improved from that in the previous report (36%), which tested for 1990-1995, but was still not considered satisfactory. Self-reported diagnoses of cancer do not provide sufficient accuracy for the detection and classification of incident cancers. Our findings may be extrapolated to other Japanese populations.
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