Here’s something to consider for your list of New Year’s resolutions: Promise yourself you’ll get your recommended cancer screenings in 2013. A large study including nearly 175-thousand Americans suggests we’re not doing all that we can to protect ourselves. Researchers at the University of Miami compared recommended screening rates set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to data from the National Health Interview Survey collected between 1997 and 2010. They specifically looked at adherence rates for breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer. Despite prostate specific antigen testing not being endorsed as a general screening test by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the researchers included it in the analysis. The results: the general public did not meet government recommendations for any cancer types except colorectal cancer where screening jumped by more than 16%.
Mammography rates were flat while Pap smear and prostate cancer screening levels both fell by nearly 4 percent. Cancer survivors were the only group that remained diligent with their preventive tests. Cancer remains one of the leading killers in the U.S. last year claiming the lives of more than 570-thousand people.