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Preventive Services Task Force

NEWS
January 27, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
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.
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NEWS
February 22, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the U.S.; it is expected to kill more than 51,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Physicians have long assumed that removing precancerous polyps during patient colonoscopies reduces the numbers of such deaths. Now researchers have proved it. In a large, multi-decade study of more than 2,600 patients who had precancerous polyps removed during colonoscopies between 1980 and 1990, scientists at the Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center in New York and colleagues at other institutions found that removing the polyps reduced deaths from colon cancer in the group by 53%.  An article detailing their results was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
NEWS
November 20, 2012 | By Karin Klein
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to test most people ages 15 to 64, whether they fall in high-risk groups or not, for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. I see only one thing wrong with this proposal: We should have started doing it years ago. Decades ago. Admittedly, it's in more recent years that medicine has learned that treatment for HIV is more successful when it starts earlier rather than later. But long before we had any effective treatments for HIV infection, it was clear that if people knew they had AIDS, they could and usually would take steps to avoid infecting others, through safer-sex measures and the like.
NEWS
November 27, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
More than a quarter of new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among people ages 13 to 24, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, about 60% of those young people with HIV don't know they have the virus. The release represents the most recent analyses by the CDC. It was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. According to the CDC, about 12,200 young Americans became infected with HIV in 2010, with African Americans representing more than half of those newly infected.
NATIONAL
November 18, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
A core tenet of the healthcare overhaul President Obama is pushing through Congress is that medical care can be improved -- and costs contained -- if the country relies more on experts to determine which procedures and treatments work best. But Monday's mammography report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force delivered a swift and stark reminder that few ideas are more explosive in healthcare. The expert panel -- which recommended that women in their 40s should no longer get annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer -- sparked an outcry from those who say that the federal government is more interested in saving money than in improving women's health, even though the panel did not consider costs in its analysis.
HEALTH
April 23, 2011 | Harris Meyer, Kaiser Health News
This story has been corrected. See note at bottom for details. For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer , which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services , including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost. But there's a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.
NEWS
April 1, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer dramatically. But that doesn't mean all women should line up for laboratory testing to see if they have those risky versions of the genes, members of a government panel said Monday.  Unless she has a family history that makes it likely she has the harmful mutations, a woman will be unlikely to benefit from genetic counseling and...
NEWS
October 10, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released a draft recommendation that PSA tests no longer be used for routine screens for prostate cancer. What is PSA anyway? Prostate-specific antigen is an enzyme of a type called a protease; it cuts up other proteins. Scientists believe it helps liquefy semen, and it may help sperm find its way to an egg by digesting the mucus covering the cervix. When cancers develop in the prostate gland, levels of PSA can start to climb in the blood.
NEWS
November 22, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
This might be tough for parents who want to swoop in and fix their children's every problem, but a study found that half of the teenagers who screened positive for depression got better in six weeks without treatment. Two aspects of the teenagers' conditions seemed to predict whether the depression would ease without treatment: the severity of the symptoms and whether the symptoms persisted for six weeks, the researchers, led by Dr. Laura Richardson of Seattle Children's Research Institute, said in an article published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
Women who were screened for partner violence and given a list of resources to help didn't have better health or less partner violence a year later than women who were not screened, researchers found. The research follows a call from numerous public health agencies, including the Institute of Medicine, for such screening, the researchers wrote in Tuesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. They note that several other agencies including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have concluded there's not enough evidence to support the screening.
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