(HealthDay News) — Screening rates for colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers are below the Healthy People 2020 targets, according to research published in the May 8 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Among adults in the age groups recommended for screening in 2013, about two in five were not up to date with colorectal cancer screening, one in four women were not up to date with breast cancer screening, and one in five women were not up to date with cervical cancer screening. The lowest screening rates tended to be among adults without insurance or a usual source of health care. For example, fewer than 25 percent of those adults had had a recent colorectal cancer screening, compared with more than 60 percent of adults with private insurance or a usual source of health care.

“It is concerning to see a stall in colorectal cancer screening rates,” Lisa Richardson, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said in an agency news release. “We must find new ways to make people and providers aware that getting tested for colorectal cancer could prevent cancer and save their lives.”

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The study did indicate that the breast cancer screening rate among women with the highest levels of income and education exceeded the Healthy People 2020 target, and that the rate of colorectal cancer screening among adults aged 65 to 75 was also close to the target. “Clearly the message is getting through to some, as educated and higher socioeconomic individuals are being tested,” Louis Potters, M.D., chief of radiation medicine at the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute in New Hyde Park, N.Y., told HealthDay. “Going forward, the goal will be to educate everyone on the value of appropriate cancer screening and link that to insurance coverage and access.”

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