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Too Few Older Adults Get Recommended Screenings
Date:11/19/2009

Report looks to improve health of this group with better preventive care,,

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for cancer and other preventive health measures can prolong lives, but only 25 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 in the United States are getting these recommended screenings, a new report shows.

Prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AARP and the American Medical Association, the report also lays out ways to improve the health of these adults by increasing the breadth of preventive services.

"This is really looking at untapped opportunities to improve the health of adults," said report co-author Lynda A. Anderson, director of the CDC's Healthy Aging Program. "It really talks about broadening the use of these potentially lifesaving preventive services."

Areas of special attention in the report include influenza vaccine, cholesterol screening, colorectal cancer screening and for women, breast and cervical cancer screening. Also included are screenings for other behaviors that could hurt health such as binge drinking.

Anderson said they hope to institute programs for adults that are like those for children in keeping their health care up-to-date. "We are trying to get adults to think in the same way -- are you really up-to-date- on your services?" she explained.

By 2015, middle-aged adults will make up 20 percent of the U.S. population. These people are at the greatest risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. In addition, about one-third of these adults are uninsured or underinsured, increasing the challenges of providing preventive services, the report noted.

In addition, most people go to their doctor with a specific complaint and often preventive screening is never mentioned, Anderson noted. The new effort is "really looking for ways to support providers," she said.

"This report highlights that natio
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