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Cancer Screening Guidelines May Play Role in Screening Rate Decline Among Elderly Patients


According to a recent study released by researchers at Yale University, declines in several cancer screening procedures among the elderly can be attributed to guidelines issued by key public health organizations.

The researchers took a look at Medicare billing records from 2000 to 2012, specifically analyzing over 230 million screening procedures for prostate, breast and colon cancers. They then tracked the screening guidelines issued by several major public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Gastroenterology.

The results showed that rates for breast cancer screening declined 7.4 percent over the period; screening for prostate cancer declined 7 percent from the 2000 rate by 2012, and colon cancer screening also declined over the period studied.

Although the researchers did not conclude that there was a direct cause-and-effect relationship between screening guidelines and reduced screening rates, they did acknowledge that the methodologies employed by these public health organizations may have an impact on the number of elderly people screened for cancer.

Other News From Around the Web

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $22.8 million in grants to 31 states and universities in an effort to increase screening access for at-risk, low-income, and under-insured adults.
  • Some endoscopists recommend more frequent screening for colon cancer than the guidelines suggest.

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