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Many Ignore Colorectal Cancer Screening Campaigns

Study finds regular visits to doctor influence behavior

FRIDAY, June 28, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Campaigns urging Americans to get screened for colorectal cancer have often turned to celebrities like Katie Couric and Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees, to get the message out.

Unfortunately, a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health that appears in the July American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests those words may be falling on deaf ears. The study says those who regularly see a doctor for preventive care are most likely to be tested for the disease. And researchers say that's not enough.

Of the more than 1,000 Massachusetts residents surveyed, only about half of those aged 50 to 64 had been screened using colonoscopy or barium enema within 10 years, flexible sigmoidoscopy within five years, and fecal occult blood testing within the past year.

And, the study says, insurance coverage has a great effect on whether you see regularly see a physician. Those with no insurance had the lowest rates of being tested.

"Low rates of colorectal cancer screening are disturbing, given the relatively high incidence of colorectal cancer and effectiveness of early detection," says lead researcher Jane Zapka, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

More information

To find out more about colorectal cancer, take a look at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, June 27, 2002
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