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CDC urges more cancer screenings to save lives

The report also found race, education and income has a negative impact on breast and colon cancer screening with African-Americans and Hispanics exhibiting the lowest rates

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on colon and breast cancer screening found that while most adults were getting tested for the two lethal forms of the disease, the numbers were still not enough.

According to the CDC, thousands of deaths could have been prevented had more people opted for the recommended screening techniques.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden stated, "It's encouraging to see more adults getting recommended cancer screenings. But we have more to do, especially when it comes to getting more people screened for colorectal cancer, which kills more American nonsmokers than any other cancer."

He added, "The bottom line is that more than 20 million need to be screened and it would save thousands of deaths each year.”

Some specific findings of the “CDC Vital Signs”
Statistics from the agency’s new monthly report, “CDC Vital Signs,” found that though there was an uptick in colon cancer screening, that for breast cancer had reached a plateau.

Data reveals that 63 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 75 got tested for colorectal cancer in 2008, which is a significant increase from 52 percent in 2002.

However the procedure of mammography for breast cancer in women aged 50 and 75 was 81.1 percent in comparison to 81.5 percent in 2006.

In addition, nearly 22 million people have not been screened for colorectal cancer and seven million women have not had mammogram in the last two years.

"The bottom line is that more than 20 million need to be screened and it would save thousands of deaths each year.” -- CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden

Other highlights of the report
The report also found that race, education, and income has a negative impact on breast and colon cancer screening with African-Americans, Hispanics, and people without a high school diploma exhibiting the lowest rates.

The report also found that the rates for colorectal screening were higher in those insured as opposed to the uninsured (66 percent compared with 36 percent).

In mammogram screening, 84 percent women with insurance opted for the procedure compared to 56 percent uninsured women.

American Indian and Alaska native women had the lowest rates of mammogram screenings at 70 percent, while 16 percent of women with insurance had skipped the screenings.

Frieden stated, "Tragically, one in three people who should be screened for colorectal cancer have not yet done so; and rates are even lower among Hispanics and blacks.

"Each year about 12,000 lives are saved as a result of mammography, and an additional 32,000 lives could be saved if every adult aged 50 years or older got tested regularly for colorectal cancer.”

Test can save thousands of lives
Screening is vital to detect cancer at a premature phase, especially colon cancer, which can be treated successfully in the precancerous phase.

According to the CDC, nearly 1,900 deaths could be prevented every year if more people opted for any one of the three colorectal screening processes available.

In 2006, more than 139,000 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed and 53,000 people died from the disease.