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Cancer Screenings Falling Short Of Targeted Goals In Nearly All Categories
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Cancer Screenings Falling Short Of Targeted Goals In Nearly All Categories

A new federal study, undertaken by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention along with the National Cancer Institute has shown some troubling numbers when it comes to cancer screening. Focusing on three different types of common cancer, the study looked at the information from a 2010 survey which asked if the screenings were being done as well as other questions.

The study focused on breast, cervical and colorectal cancers which are not only common types of cancer but are also treatable when detected in their earliest stages, especially for certain age groups. Experts fear that the declining numbers are due, largely because of the economic crisis that has left many employers with little choice but to lay off workers or to stop paying health benefits. Lower to middle income people reported in the survey that they were either unable or unwilling to pay for the screenings or to get to the doctor. Others who were not getting their screenings reported that they did not have a regular doctor or the access to one in their local area.

Breast cancer screening numbers have leveled out before making it to the federal goal that had been set. The CDC and the National Cancer Institute as well as other cancer advocacy groups had set a goal of 80% compliance with mammograms and other screenings but according to the survey, only slightly more than 72% of women in the 50-74 age category had had their mammogram in the previous two year period. For cervical cancer, the Pap smear is the standard screening test with a national goal of 93%. That number fell short by ten percentage points, down fro the previous reporting period. But, the results for colorectal screening was the most troubling according to the study which showed that while the target for the screening was 70%, less than 60% have actually gotten their testing. When colorectal cancer is found in the earliest stages, the survival rate is at its highest.

When breast cancer found in its earliest stages, 0 to Stage I, for instance, the five year survivor rate can be as high as 93% but the numbers start dropping dramatically, all the way down to only 15% in Stage IV. The survivor rates for cervical cancer are the same. For cancers of the colon and rectal cancer, the survivor rates are 74% at Stage I and 6% at Stage IV. Colon cancer is much more prevalent than cancer of the rectum.


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