ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Add your Article

More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings

THURSDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for breast, cervical and colon cancer saves lives, but too few Americans are getting the recommended screens or getting them regularly enough, a new report shows.

The rate of screening for breast and cervical cancers has stayed about the same since 2000, while the rate of colorectal cancer screening has increased but not as fast as experts had hoped, according to the report released Thursday by the American Cancer Society.

"More people need to get screened than are being screened, and they need to get screened regularly -- that's a big problem," said report author Robert Smith, director of cancer screening at the cancer society.

Only 50.6 percent of men and women age 50 to 64, and 57.6 percent of those older than 65, have regular colonoscopies. In addition, only about 19 percent of adults have regular fecal occult blood tests.

Among women, 60.7 percent of those age 40 to 64 have mammograms; that number slips to 59.8 percent for women age 65 and over.

The best way to ensure that you are getting screened according to the American Cancer Society recommendations is to tell your doctor that you want to be current with the guidelines, Smith said. You should also tell your doctor that you want to be reminded when it's time to have a screening test.

For cervical cancer, women should get regular Pap smears, starting at age 20. For breast cancer, women should start getting regular breast examinations at 20 and annual mammograms at 40, Smith said.

For colorectal cancer, both men and women should start regular screening at age 50. Screening for colorectal cancer includes fecal occult blood tests, colonoscopy and computed tomography (CT) colonography, sometimes called virtual colonoscopy.

"We recommend that any stool blood test be done with high-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests or immunochemical tests," Smith said. "We also added CT colonography every five years to the list of acceptable options, as well as stool DNA testing."

The cancer society does not recommend screening for other cancers, such as prostate or lung cancer, Smith noted. "We believe that men should hear about the pros and cons of testing for early prostate cancer," he said.

Smith noted two trials are underway that could determine whether screening for prostate cancer is beneficial. Results of these trials are not expected for several years, he added.

There are also ongoing trials to see if long-term smokers could benefit from lung cancer screening with spiral CT scans, Smith said.

Screening for other cancers, such as ovarian, bladder or pancreatic cancer, has not been proven effective. "We don't have effective screening tests for those cancers, and we don't know whether early diagnosis truly is beneficial, and we don't know if there is a favorable balance of benefits to harms," Smith said.

Smith also thinks that getting a full body scan to look for cancer is a bad idea. "A full body may not be the most effective way of using the technology to find cancer, and it can potentially find things that are not cancer but can't be determined not to be cancer," he said. "That's going to require exploratory surgery or other tests that could run up a high bill."

Smith believes the money would be better spent getting screening that has been shown to be beneficial and effective.

A report from the cancer society published in November in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that the number of men and women in the United States getting and dying from cancer had dropped -- the first decline since such statistics were released in 1998.

The drop in cancer rates is attributed mostly to fewer cases of lung, prostate and colorectal cancer among men and fewer cases of breast and colorectal cancer among women. Also, death rates from lung cancer have leveled off among women since 2003.

-Steven Reinberg

More information

For more information on cancer screening, visit the American Cancer Society .



SOURCES: Robert Smith, Ph.D., director, cancer screening, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Jan. 14, 2009, Cancer Screening in the United States, 2009: A Review of Current American Cancer Society Guidelines and Issues in Cancer Screening

Last Updated: Jan. 15, 2009

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