An alarming new CDC report underscores why it's so very important for you and yours not to put off cancer screenings for a rainy day at a time to be determined much later down the road: A third of all breast cancers and almost half of colon and cervical cancers were diagnosed in their late stages.
It's never wise to put off that cancer screening until tomorrow, next week, next month or never, merely based on the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) that collected data from 1975-2006 on cancer survival rates. Five-year survival rates for all three cancers in their early, localized stages were above 90 percent, but no higher than 23 percent, 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively, for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers at their latest stages.
Researchers believe U.S. geography may be a factor too, which should be alarming, particularly for residents of Louisiana, whose state ranked among the highest in late-stage incidents of all three cancers. And, those living in the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania ranked the highest in two late-stage cancer diagnoses categories.
No surprise, women may be following cancer screening guidelines far better than men do. Cervical cancer (ages 21-64) and breast cancer (ages 50-74) screenings for women were above 80 percent, while less than 62 percent of men (ages 50-75) followed recommended colorectal cancer screening guidelines.
Just a reminder that this holiday month and your birthday week are the best times to schedule a cancer screening, because you'll follow through on it.
CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, No. 59, p. 1-25, November 26, 2010 Free Full Text Study/PDF
Medscape Today November 29, 2010 Free Subscription Required
Yahoo News November 24, 2010