More Americans need to be screened for cancer

More Americans need to be screened for cancer

Adults in the U.S. are not getting the recommended screening tests for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report found that 58.2 percent of adults age 50 to 75 reported being screened for colorectal cancer, 72.6 percent of women 50 to 74 had a mammogram, and 80.7 percent of women 21 to 65 had a Pap smear. The percentages are below the Healthy People 2020 targets. The results, which were published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, were aggregated from the National Health Interview Survey in 2013.

“Screenings have been proven to detect cancer at an earlier stage, before symptoms,” says Dr. Kevin Kirshenbaum, diagnostic radiologist on staff at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “The hard truth is that you are more likely to die from these types of cancers if you are not screened.”

Adults without insurance had the lowest number of screenings tested.

“It is concerning to see a stall in colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Lisa C. Richardson, MD, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, in a news release. “We must find new ways to make people and providers aware that getting tested for colorectal cancer could prevent cancer and save their lives.”

However, women who screened for breast cancer and were in the highest education and income bracket exceeded the target for Healthy People 2020, according to the report. Adults 65 to 75 years old who screened for colorectal cancer were also near the target.

The National Health Interview Survey is a household survey that is administered every two years by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The survey helps to provide a broad perspective on the population’s health, influences on health and health outcomes.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women get a colonoscopy starting at age 50. If a person is not high risk, the screening will be done every 10 years.

The U.S. Preventative Task Force recommends that women 50 to 74 years old get a mammogram every two years. The CDC recommends women should have a Pap smear or HPV test annual starting at 21 years old, and ending at 65 years old.

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One Comment

  1. Okay, if every two years for a mammogram is the recommendation of the Preventive Task Force, why am I getting letters from Advocate Christ’s breast health center telling me I should have a mammogram annually and urging me to schedule another one soon? Because I just got one of those letters last month, and I had an unremarkable mammogram a year ago (nothing questionable has ever cropped up in any of my exams). Getting another one this year — especially as there is no history of breast cancer in my family — seems unnecessary to me. Well, too bad: Y’all get to wait another year to see me, because I’m following the task force’s advice. So there. Maybe you should communicate that advice to your breast clinic.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.