There is considerable controversy over the ability of physicians to estimate life expectancy. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that the Care Assessment Needs (CAN) score can be used to improve estimates of 5-year life expectancy in men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The CAN score has several advantages. First, repurposing an already available tool does simplify efforts to implement the CAN score into routine clinical practice within the VHA system. Second, it incorporates key variables that are commonly available in electronic health records systems and therefore could be replicated in other institutions. It is easy to imagine how tools like the CAN score could be tailored to unique populations of patients, and to specific health care systems.
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