Cancer screening rates below target

Not enough Americans are following government recommendations for getting regular cancer screenings, and there are significant disparities among racial and ethnic populations, according to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute.

According to the CDC, nearly 350,000 Americans are diagnosed with breast, cervical or colorectal cancer annually, leading to about 100,000 deaths from these cancers.

In 2010, breast cancer screening rates were 72.4 percent, below the target of 81 percent; cervical cancer screening was 83 percent, below the target of 93 percent; and colorectal cancer screening was 58.6 percent, below the target of 70.5 percent, according to the study, “Cancer Screening in the United States – 2010.”

Screening rates for all three cancers were significantly lower among Asians (64.1 percent for breast cancer, 75.4 percent for cervical cancer, and 46.9 percent for colorectal cancer) compared to other groups, the study found. Hispanics were less likely to be screened for cervical and colorectal cancer (78.7 percent and 46.5 percent, respectively) when compared to non-Hispanics (83.8 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively).

“It is troubling to see that not all Americans are getting the recommended cancer screenings and that disparities continue to persist for certain populations,” says Sallyann Coleman King, lead author of the study and an epidemic intelligence service officer in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “We must continue to monitor cancer screening rates to improve the health of all Americans.”

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