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Survey Finds Many Women Misinformed About Cancer
Date:10/26/2007

, but 77 percent said regular physician visits help reduce the risk of cancer.
  • 29 percent of women haven't seen a doctor on a regular basis or had a Pap test or a mammogram in the past year.
  • 18 percent said Pap tests and mammograms weren't necessary, 7 percent said they didn't know how to get screened, and 7 percent thought screening was a waste of time.
  • 37 percent of the women said they couldn't afford to see a doctor.
  • Michael Stefanek, director of behavioral research at the American Cancer Society, said the survey results mirrored other study findings.

    "The data is not inconsistent with what we know about women's knowledge and screening practices," he said. "We need to do a better job alerting women that they are at risk for cancer even if they have no family history."

    Stefanek noted that U.S. cancer deaths dropped an average 2.1 percent each year from 2002 through 2004 -- double the average 1.1 percent decline seen from 1993 through 2002. This improvement is largely due to better cancer screening and early detection, he said.

    Stenfanek also thinks more women need to be screened, and there needs to be greater access to health care so women can get the care they require.

    In response to these findings, ACOG will launch on Oct. 29 a new Web site -- Protect & Detect: What Women Should Know about Cancer. The guide is designed to help women, working with their ob-gyns, to take charge of their health and improve their understanding of their risk of cancer -- and the lifestyle steps they can take to cut that risk.

    ACOG has also developed new guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. The guidelines recommend that women, starting at 50, receive a colonoscopy every 10 years. Colonoscopy is the "gold standard" for preventing colorectal cancer because of its ability to detect precancerous lesions and remove them during the procedure.

    While ACOG
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