Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Cancer Screening Rates, Study Finds

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM EDT

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Cancer Screening Rates, Study Finds

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM EDT

(CDC news release) According to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute, the percentage of U.S. citizens screened for cancer remains below national targets, with significant disparities among racial and ethnic populations.

In 2010, breast cancer screening rates were 72.4 percent, below the Healthy People 2020 target of 81 percent; cervical cancer screening was 83 percent, below the target of 93 percent; and colorectal cancer screening was 58.6 percent, below the target of 70.5 percent, according to the study, “Cancer Screening in the United States – 2010.”

Screening rates for all three cancers were significantly lower among Asians (64.1 percent for breast cancer, 75.4 percent for cervical cancer, and 46.9 percent for colorectal cancer) compared to other groups, the study found.  Hispanics were less likely to be screened for cervical and colorectal cancer (78.7 percent and 46.5 percent, respectively) when compared to non-Hispanics (83.8 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively).

“It is troubling to see that not all Americans are getting the recommended cancer screenings and that disparities continue to persist for certain populations. Screening can find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers at an early stage when treatment is more effective,” said Sallyann Coleman King, M.D., an epidemic intelligence service officer in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and lead author of the study. “We must continue to monitor cancer screening rates to improve the health of all Americans.”

Read the entire CDC news release HERE.