If you knew a cancer was preventable, treatable and beatable, would you do something about it? Not enough people do, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Almost half of the colorectal and cervical cancer cases and a third of the breast cancer cases in the United States are diagnosed at late-stages of the diseases when treatment is more difficult, according to a new CDC report.
In this first report to highlight the nationwide incidence of late-stage cancer diagnosis and cancer screening prevalence, the incidence rates of late-stage cancers differed by age, race/ethnicity, and state.
"This report causes concern because so many preventable cancers are not being diagnosed when treatment is most effective," said Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. "More work is needed to widely implement evidence-based cancer screening tests which may lead to early detection and, ultimately, an increase in the number of lives saved."
Researchers examined stage-specific cancer incidence rates and screening prevalence for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer by demographic characteristics in states. The report noted that differences in late-stage cancer diagnoses may be partially explained by differences in screening rates in locations and among different demographic groups.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends the following evidence-based population-based cancer screenings:
• Men and women aged 50-75 years, at average risk for colorectal cancer, should get screened with any of the three tests: a fecal occult blood test every year, a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
• Women aged 50-74 years should be screened with mammography every two years.
• Screening for cervical cancer with the Pap test should begin for women within three years of beginning sexual activity or at age 21 (whichever comes first). Furthermore, women should be screened annually with three consecutive normal Pap tests and then at least every three years up to age 64 years.
Significant findings of the study include: