Cancer screening rates flat

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 20, 2006

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The number of people being screened overall for cancer changed little from 2002 to 2004, according to the "American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer" published in the January/February CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

The document, which summarizes any changes in recommendations for cancer screening made over the past year and gathers data relevant to their implementation, is published annually by the society. Screening guidelines were unchanged in 2005, but the organization expressed concern because the rates had not increased and some remained stubbornly low.

"Too many adults are not receiving regular screening, and thus there is a persistent, avoidable fraction of advanced cancer diagnosed each year that could have been detected at an earlier, more treatable stage, or potentially even been prevented," said Robert A. Smith, PhD, lead author and the ACS director of cancer screening.

About 85% of women age 18 and older have had a Pap test within the past three years, but just more than 45% of adults age 50 and older have had either a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Both these rates are lower for those who don't have health insurance.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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