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Too Few Americans Getting Screened for Common Cancers: CDC
Date:1/26/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans being screened for colon, breast and cervical cancers still fall below national targets, federal health officials said Thursday.

In 2010, 72.4 percent of women were being screened for breast cancer, below the target of 81 percent, for cervical cancer it was 83 percent of women, while the target is 93 percent, and for colon cancer 58.6 percent of Americans were screened, missing the target of 70.5 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Not all Americans are getting the recommended screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer," said report co-author Mary C. White, branch chief of the CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. "There continue to be disparities for certain populations."

The screening rates are particularly low among Asians and Hispanics, according to the report in the Jan. 27 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Among Asians, the screening rate for breast cancer was 64.1 percent, for cervical cancer it was 75.4 percent, and for colon cancer it was 46.9 percent.

Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanics to have screening for cervical and colon cancer (78.7 percent and 46.5 percent, respectively), the researchers found.

Screening is important, said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"Screening saves lives," she said. "When you catch a cancer at a smaller size it does affect outcome."

Some people may be confused about screening, because different medical groups have different screening protocols, Bernik said.

"It's hard to get people to do screening in general. People look for any excuse not to get screened. When they see there is a controversy about when to start screening, they look at it as an opportunity to not do the test," she said.


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