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12 Dec 2011 06:35 PM

Cancer Screening In Older Patients Very Common

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommend against routine cancer screening, especially for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer, but adults 75 and older are still receiving regular cancer screenings. The report published in the December 12/26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, is a part of the journal's Less is More series, the aim is to educate healthcare professionals and patients alike in cuttings costs, but having a better service at the same time.

The authors write as background information in the article :

"In the United States, the number of adults 65 years or older, currently estimated at 36.8 million, is expected to double by the year 2030. Providing high-quality care to this growing population while attempting to contain costs will pose a significant challenge ...

While a great deal is known about cancer screening behaviors and trends in young and middle-aged adults, less is known about screening behaviors in older adults from different racial backgrounds."

Keith M. Bellizzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey, an annual in-person nationwide survey used to track health trends in U.S. citizens, to estimate the prevalence of cancer screening among older, racially diverse adults. The study population included 49,575 individuals, 1,697 of whom were 75 to 79 years of age and 2,376 were 80 years of age and older.

Percentages of those reporting cancer screenings are as follows :

  • 62 percent Women age 75 to 79 - A mammogram within the past two years.

  • 50 percent of women age 80 and older - A mammogram within the past two years.

  • 53 percent of women ages 75 to 79 - A Papanicolaou screen (also known as a pap smear or pap test) for cervical cancer within the past three...
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