Breast, Cervical, Colorectal Cancer Screenings Below Target, CDC Reports

Overall, regular breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening was below target in 2013, according to a new report from the CDC. In fact, researchers found overall screening in these 3 areas showed no improvements from 2010 to 2013.

Overall, regular breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer (CRC) screening was below target in 2013, according to a new report from the CDC. In fact, researchers found overall screening in these 3 areas showed no improvements from 2010 to 2013.

The CDC’s targets are based on those established in Healthy People 2020. Recent breast, cervical, and CRC screenings were defined according to United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. The investigators compared screening use by sociodemographic and access factors.

“There are financial and nonfinancial barriers to receiving preventive services,” the authors wrote. “The Affordable Care Act helps reduce financial barriers both by increasing access to insurance and by eliminating cost-sharing for breast, cervical, and CRC screening (among other preventive services) for many insured persons.”

Only 72.6% of women between the ages of 59 and 74 years reported a recent mammography, which is below the 81.1% target. Use was lower among younger women and Hispanics. Education and income were associated with an increased use of screening. Those lacking insurance (38.5%) or a usual source of care (29.7%) had the lowest usage.

While the proportion of women between the ages of 21 and 65 years reporting a recent Pap test was higher at 80.7%, this too was below the target (93%). Pap test use was lower for Asians, Hispanics, older women, and foreign-born women, according to the findings. Privately insured women were more likely than uninsured and publicly insured women to report screening. Again, use increased with education and income and was lowest among women without a usual source of care (62.1%) or insurance (62%).

Finally, only 58.2% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 75 years reported recent CRC tests, well below the target of 70.5%. However, CRC screening was up from the 2008 baseline (52.1%), while breast and cervical cancer screening were both below their 2008 baselines (73.7% and 84.5%, respectively).

Use of CRC tests was lower among Asians and all Hispanic subgroups with the exception of Puerto Ricans, the CDC reported. Younger respondents had lower usage and use was slightly lower among men compared with women.

“Increased efforts are needed to reach Healthy People 2020 cancer screening targets and reduce disparities,” the researchers concluded. “More intensive or focused efforts might be required to overcome persistent barriers among specific population subgroups.”