A 31-year-old male asked:
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in layman's terms what does this mean: "study for detecting pancreatic cancer states: sensitivity of mrcp with respect to diagnosis pc was 84 percent and specificity was 97%." a study done on detecting pc.

2 doctor answers
Dr. Samer Muala
15 years experience Family Medicine
Confusing: It is saying that MRCP can detect pancreatic cancer 84% of the time. Sensitivity refers to how many times a study will be negative and you are confident in the result. In other words, if MRCP is normal how sure are you that no PC is there. Specificity is basically if a study suggests you have PC how sure are you that it is not a false call. So if an MRCP suggests PC but it's not!
Answered on Jun 18, 2014
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Dr. Robert Roschmann
46 years experience Rheumatology
Screen vs Confirm: Sensitivity means that if you had 100 people with biopsy proven PC, then 84 out of the 100 people with PC had a (+) test. Specificity means that if you had a (+) test result there is a 97% probability that you have PC and a 3% probability that you have a "false positive" (which means you do not have PC). High sensitivity tests are used to screen for a condition whereas high specificity confirms.
Answered on Jun 18, 2014
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