Bernik also admits that screening can result in some over-treatment.
"With screening comes that risk," she said. "Unfortunately, we are not at a point where we can select the patients that are not going to have a problem, so we treat everyone equally. So, there is a little bit of over-treatment but, overall, you are improving survival for many people."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women aged 50 to 74 get a mammogram every two years to screen for breast cancer.
Women aged 21 to 65, or those who have been sexually active for three years, should have a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer at least every three years, the task force recommends.
For colorectal cancer, men and women aged 50 to 75 should be screened with a yearly fecal occult blood test or sigmoidoscopy every five years, or have a colonoscopy every 10 years.
Other highlights of the report include:
The Affordable Care Act is expected to lower these barriers to access by expanding insurance coverage, the authors said.
"Other efforts are needed, such as developing systems that identify persons eligible for cancer screening tests, actively encouraging the use of screening tests, and monitoring participation to improve screening rates," the authors added.
For more on cancer screening, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Mary C. White, Sc.D., M.P.H.,
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