U.S. cancer screenings down

Dec. 30, 2012 at 4:56 PM
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MIAMI, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The rate of U.S. adults who sought preventive cancer screenings fell during the last 10 years with white-collar and blue-collar variations, researchers say.

Lead author Tainya Clarke, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said improved treatments have increased the number of cancer survivors but cancer claimed the lives of more than 570,000 last year.

"There is a great need for increased cancer prevention efforts in the United States, especially for screening as it is considered one of the most important preventive behaviors and helps decrease the burden of this disease on society in terms of quality of life, the number of lives lost and insurance costs," Clarke said in a statement. "But despite this, our research has shown that adherence rates for cancer screenings have generally declined with severe implications for the health outlook of our society."

The general public did not meet government recommendations for cancer screenings for any cancer types except colorectal cancer. About 54 percent of the general public underwent colorectal screenings, exceeding the 50 percent goal of the government's "Healthy People 2010" national health promotion and disease prevention initiative.

By contrast, cancer survivors, who are at an increased risk of developing the disease, had higher screening rates and underwent the recommended cancer screenings for all types except cervical cancer, which decreased to 78 percent over the last decade.

In addition, the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Cancer Epidemiology, showed among survivors, white collar workers had higher screening rates than blue collar workers.

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