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Trouble on the Horizon as Cancer Screenings Decline

PHOTO: The American Cancer Society, along with cancer experts across the country, have promoted preventive cancer screenings as a way to cut cancer death rates.
PHOTO: The American Cancer Society, along with cancer experts across the country, have promoted preventive cancer screenings as a way to cut cancer death rates.
January 3, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa - The American Cancer Society, along with cancer experts across the nation, have promoted preventive cancer screenings as a way to cut cancer death rates, especially for breast, colon and prostate cancer. In the last decade, however, the number of people seeking those screenings has dropped.

Chuck Reed, a spokesman for the Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society, thinks part of the reason is confusion.

"People aren't sure when to go in and get that first screening, and I strongly suggest to everybody to visit the American Cancer Society website and get our recommendations for screenings because I believe we have the best ones there."

Another reason for the drop may be that people fear bad news, Reed says, but early detection means a better chance of a cure.

"We can help people if they just follow the advice we give, so if they do indeed find cancer, we find it at an early stage. I'm more concerned about what's going to happen down the road as far as finding cancers at more advanced stages."

If you haven't had a mammography by age 40, you need to go in, Reed says, adding that if you haven't had a colonoscopy by age 50 you need to get one. Other recommendations on when to get early cancer screenings are online at cancer.org.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA