WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Although screening tests
are widely available, many cancers aren't diagnosed until the
disease is well-advanced and, therefore, less treatable, a new U.S.
government report finds.
Almost one-half of colorectal cancers and cervical cancers and
one-third of breast cancers in the United States are detected at a
late stage, according to the report released Wednesday by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yet, if caught early, these three cancers have very high
"People need to be aware of what they need to have done medically and follow-up with their providers," said report co-author Dr. Lisa Richardson, associate director for science in CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.
For the study, the researchers examined data collected from 2004
to 2006 from the CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries; the
U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and
End Results Program; and the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor
"For me, the most important point is to look at how different the rates of advanced-stage cancer are in different parts of the country," said Dr. Marc Lippman, chair of the department of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and deputy director of the university's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was not involved in the report.
The differences reflect socioeconomic status and access to care,
he said. "What this tells you is that a lot of cancer deaths are
preventable, and those skill-sets to prevent deaths are being
applied unequally across the country," Lippman explained.
Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, for instance, had higher
rates of late-stage cancers than many other states.
Lippman said he thinks too few insurance companies pay for
preventive care, and noted that vast differences exist in access to
Some people are afraid of screening and some doctors don't even
discuss cancer screening with their patients, Lippman noted.
"Many people have a fatalistic view of cancer, which is unfortunate, because many cancers, if detected early, have dramatically better survival with dramatically less treatment," Lippman said.
Other findings in the report include:
"This report causes concern because so many preventable cancers are not being diagnosed when treatment is most effective," Dr. Marcus Plescia, director of CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said in a statement Wednesday.
"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," he said.
Screening recommendations include:
"People need to take advantage of the fact that we do have these screening tests that have been shown to lower mortality and lead to earlier-stage diagnosis," said Richardson.
By eliminating financial barriers to cancer screenings, such as
co-pays, the new Affordable Care Act offers an important first step
to increasing the number of people who receive these services, the
For more information on cancer screening, visit the
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.