Cancer Screening Rates Not Meeting Established Targets

Cancer Screening Rates Not Meeting Established Targets

More work needs to be done to get the word out about the importance of cancer screenings.

Troubling statistics have come out from a report from the National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of the American population isn't living up to national targets. What's more, the percentage of Hispanic and Asian groups are even worse for cancer screening.

For example, the national screening target rate set in Healthy People 2020, a national health plan, is 81 percent. Yet, the actual breast screening rates are much lower than that; they're just slightly over 72 percent. Actual cervical cancer screening rates overall are 83 percent compared to the target of 93 percent. Colorectal cancer screening fares quite poorly as well, with a 58.6 screening rate compared to the target screening rate of nearly 71 percent.

In looking at the Asian population, the actual screening rates are far less, coming in at approximately 47 percent for colorectal cancer, 75 percent for cervical cancer, and 64 percent for breast cancer. The Hispanic population follows the same pattern, where roughly 47 percent were screened for colorectal cancer and 78 percent were screened for cervical cancer. It is not surprising that the report also revealed that these cancer screenings were lower for those who did not have health insurance.

What is sad about these findings is that screenings for colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers improve treatment of the disease, especially when caught early. The report findings highlight that there is still work to be done in getting the word out about the benefits of screening for these types of cancer.