Breast, Cervical, Prostate Cancer Screening Still Lower Than Before Pandemic

The most pronounced increase in stool testing was seen in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations and in those with low socioeconomic status.

HealthDay News — Among age-eligible adults in the United States, the prevalence of past-year screening for breast, cervical, and prostate cancer continued to be lower in 2021 than prepandemic levels, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jessica Star, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues used nationally representative data to examine whether cancer screening prevalence in the United States in 2021 returned to prepandemic levels. Self-reported data regarding age-eligible screening for breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer were obtained from the 2019 and 2021 National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that past-year screening in the United States decreased from 59.9 to 57.1 percent for breast cancer, from 45.3 to 39.0 percent for cervical cancer, and from 39.5 to 36.3 percent for prostate cancer between 2019 and 2021 (adjusted prevalence ratios [aPRs], 0.94, 0.85, and 0.9, respectively). The most noticeable declines were seen for non-Hispanic Asians. The prevalence of colorectal cancer screening remained unchanged, with past-year stool testing increasing (from 7.0 to 10.3 percent; aPR, 1.44) and colonoscopy decreasing (from 15.5 to 13.8 percent; aPR, 0.88). The most pronounced increase in stool testing was seen in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations and in those with low socioeconomic status.

“These findings reinforce the importance of strengthening return to screening campaigns for cancer prevention and control, and the major role physicians and other health care providers should play for the success of the campaigns,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Syneos Health; a second author disclosed ties to AstraZeneca.

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