It’s a well-known fact that routine checks for breast, prostate, cervical and colon cancer save lives. Despite all the facts about the importance of early detection, fewer Americans are getting screened for cancer.
According to the new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, the number of Americans getting recommended cancer screening remains below target levels. This is especially the case for people who don’t have health insurance.
Ingrid Hall, an epidemiologist in CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control and lead researcher said, “continued public health efforts are needed to reduce barriers for accessing medical care; increase the number of providers who discuss the harms and benefits of cancer screening with patients and increase the number of people who receive cancer screenings, particularly among the uninsured and those with no usual source of care,”.
Some factors that have been seen to contribute to the apparent lack of screenings are not having a regular source for medical care, not being insured and not having seen a doctor in the past year. Asians, the poor, younger people and the less educated are also among those who are less likely to get cancer screenings.
According to the study, the use of Pap tests declined 4 percent from 2000 to 2015, and rates of mammograms declined 3 percent among women who had a regular source of care. Among all women included in the study, 81 percent reported having a recent Pap test and 72 percent reported a recent mammogram.
Meanwhile, there has been an increase of 29 percent in screening for colon cancer for men and women between 2000 and 2015. It has been pointed out that more increased awareness of the need for regular and timely screening, continued expansion of insurance coverage and the use of electronic medical records with automatic reminders for patients and physicians are still needed.