ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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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