Health statistics data reveals trends, factors in the use of cancer screening tests

December 17, 2002

Two decades of national cancer screening data indicate that the use of all screening tests has increased since the 1980s, with the most dramatic increases seen in the use of mammography, according to a review article in the December 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The data also highlight factors, such as sociodemographic status, source of health care, and knowledge of cancer risk factors, that have been found to influence rates of screening.

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is directed by the National Center for Health Statistics and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, collects information on cancer screening estimates through the Cancer Control Modules. These modules can be used by researchers, public health professionals, and policymakers to determine the extent to which established cancer screening tests are used in clinical practice, to identify segments of the population in which these procedures are not widely used, and to make policy decisions.

Robert A. Hiatt, M.D., Ph.D, and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute examined rates of self-reported cancer screening published in 73 papers that used data from the NHIS. The papers, published between 1980 and 2001, examined trends in screening rates, factors that may influence screening, and linkages or comparisons of NHIS data with other surveys or sources of information.

The authors found that use of all screening tests has increased since 1987, with the most dramatic increases seen in the use of mammography. Between 1987 and 1990, the percentage of women older than 40 years who reported having an annual mammographic examination increased nearly twofold, from 17% to 33%. By 1998, the rate of mammography use had risen to 67%.

Factors associated with screening use included age and sociodemographic status, source of health care, and knowledge of cancer risk factors. For example, older individuals were less likely to be screened for breast and cervical cancers but were more likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than younger individuals, and higher education and income were associated with a greater likelihood of being screened for these three types of cancer. Insurance coverage was consistently associated with use of breast and cervical cancer screening, and women who practiced healthy behaviors or who were more knowledgeable about cancer prevention and cancer risk factors tended to be screened more frequently than women who did not practice such behaviors.

In addition, Hiatt and his colleagues identified areas that could benefit from more research and described how the Cancer Control Modules are integrated with the objectives of and developments in national cancer surveillance research.

"The new Cancer Control [Module] to the 2000 NHIS will provide opportunities not only to explore screening in light of past surveys but also to evaluate use of new or evolving modalities, such as genetic testing, prostate cancer screening, and colorectal cancer screening," they write. "This review of screening data from the NHIS and its Cancer Control supplements has attempted to show what has been learned so far and highlighted areas for further exploration."
-end-
Contact: NCI Office of Communications, 301-496-6641; fax: 301-496-0846, ncipressofficers@mail.nih.gov

Hiatt R, Klabunde C, Breen N, Swan J, Ballard-Barbash R. Cancer screening practices from national health interview surveys: past, present, and future. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002;94:1837-46.

Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.