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Preventive Services Task Force

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.
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HEALTH
March 14, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
For generations of women, it's been an ingrained medical ritual: Get a Pap test every year. Now two influential groups of medical experts say that having cervical cancer screening once a year is not necessary and, in fact, should be discouraged. Many women can wait as long as five years between screenings, the new guidelines say. The call for screening cutbacks, released Wednesday, is based on evolving knowledge accrued over the last decade about human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease that causes most cervical cancer, and the availability of an HPV test that shows whether a woman has been infected with the most common variants of the virus.
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.
HEALTH
February 13, 2012 | By Lisa Zamosky, Special to the Los Angeles Times
I went for a physical and was asked for a co-pay. I thought preventive care didn't require a co-pay under the new health law. The woman behind the desk at my doctor's office didn't seem like she knew. What's the answer? Co-pay or no co-pay? It's not surprising that the woman you spoke with at your doctor's office wasn't familiar with details of the Affordable Care Act. Most people aren't aware of the changes to the healthcare delivery system under the law, says Dr. Tony Shih, executive vice president for programs at the Commonwealth Fund, a New York City-based private healthcare foundation.
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
March 10, 1990 | JAN ZIEGLER, Jan Ziegler writes for American Health and Psychology Today
A routine physical checkup in the 1990s could become something quite different from what you're accustomed to. Doctors will probably be doing a lot less testing and a lot more talking about how to stay well. Most periodic physical exams should be devoted to counseling and motivating patients to adopt more healthful life styles, advises a recent report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of 20 independent physicians and health experts working under the U.S.
NATIONAL
July 5, 2005 | From Associated Press
A federal panel is recommending that all pregnant women, not just those considered at high risk, be screened for the AIDS virus because testing has proven so successful at helping to prevent the spread of the disease to babies. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in 1996 that there was insufficient evidence that screening all pregnant women had any benefit.
HEALTH
March 4, 2002 | LINDA MARSA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Do mammograms save lives? Studies conducted in the 1970s and '80s concluded that they do, and that regular screening can cut breast cancer deaths by at least 30%. Women have long accepted this idea as gospel--namely that if they dutifully get mammograms, their cancer will be caught early enough to be treated. Scientists are now challenging this conventional wisdom.
HEALTH
June 17, 2002 | SHANKAR VEDANTAM, WASHINGTON POST
Asking all patients who walk into offices for tests, physicals and appointments two simple questions about whether they have experienced some of the warning signs of depression can swiftly begin to identify 90% of people who suffer from major depression, health experts say. The U.S.
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