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A federal study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) revealed significant disparities in cancer screening rates among racial and ethnic populations. According to the report, the percentage of US citizens screened for cancer remains below national targets.

Healthy People 2020 sets national objectives for improving the health of all Americans, including the use of screening tests for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Recommendations include:

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  • Women aged 50 to 74 years should be screened for breast cancer with a mammography every 2 years. 

  • Women who have been sexually active for 3 years or are aged 21 to 65 years should be screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test at least every 3 years.

  • Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for average-risk men and women aged 50 to 75 years, using a high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), done at home every year; sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, with high-sensitivity FOBT every 3 years; or colonoscopy every 10 years.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey to assess the use of recommended cancer screening tests by age, race, ethnicity, education, length of residence in the United States, and the source and financing of health care. For the ethnic subgroups, Asians were classified as Chinese, Filipino, or other Asian, and Hispanics as Puerto Rican, Mexican, Mexican-American, Central or South American, or other Hispanic. To read the full report, click here. ONA