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Cancer screening in U.S. lags goals, ethnic disparities revealed

January 27, 2012|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Asians and Hispanics lag other groups in receiving recommended cancer screenings such as mammograms.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that… (Rhoda Baer / National Cancer…)

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday that percentages of Americans receiving recommended screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer in 2010 did not reach targets -- with racial and ethnic populations lagging noticeably behind.

The team's study, which was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was the first to examine disparities in Asian and Hispanic groups, according to a CDC release.  Data was collected from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey.

Overall, 72.4% of women ages 50 to 74 followed the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation to get a mammogram every two years. Healthy People 2020, a government effort to improve health that sets goals for following screening guidelines, set a target of 81%.

Eighty-three percent of women followed cervical cancer screening recommendations; the Healthy People 2020 target was 93%.  For colorectal cancer screening, 58.6% of Americans complied with recommendations. The target was 70.5%.

Asians were less likely to have followed the recommendations than other groups, with 64.1% having recommended screenings for breast cancer, 75.4% for cervical cancer, and 46.9% for colorectal cancer.

Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanics to have been screened for cervical cancer (78.7% vs. 83.8%) and colorectal cancer (46.5% vs. 59.9%).

People without access to healthcare or health insurance were less likely to have undergone cancer screening than people with better access to healthcare.  More recent immigrants also were  less likely to have received tests than immigrants who had been in the U.S. longer.

Rates of screening for colorectal cancer through either fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy had risen since 2000.

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