Rural Americans Have Higher Rates Of Cancers Screening Can Prevent

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 - 9:27am

Fewer people are dying from cancer, according to a July report from the Centers for Disease Control, but not all populations are improving equally.

Rural Americans have higher rates of certain cancers that screening can prevent, including colon and prostate cancer.

Mitchell Humphreys, a professor of urology with Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, said the urology field historically made significant inroads with a blood-test called PSA. But, U.S. recommendations changed in 2012 telling men to not get tested, because rates of dying were so low.

In April of this year, the recommendations reverted back.

“But that window of time in there ... a lot of people took that to mean we don’t need to get our PSA checked.  So we’ve seen some younger men with some much worse disease than we’ve seen before,” Humphreys said.

He said it takes longer to get people to readopt screening, and because prostate cancers are slow-growing, the true impact of the years missed in screenings on cancer diagnosis and survival are not yet known.

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