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Regular Health Exams Increase Cancer Screening

Those undergoing regular exams more likely to get mammography, prostate-specific antigen test, colorectal screening

MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Regular, preventive health examinations increase the likelihood that eligible patients will undergo screening for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, according to study findings published in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Joshua J. Fenton, M.D., of the University of California-Davis, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 64,288 subjects, aged 52 to 78 years, enrolled in a Washington state health plan and eligible for colorectal, breast or prostate cancer screening. The authors sought to determine the extent to which preventive or periodic health care examinations contributed to cancer screening.

The investigators found that 52.4 percent of patients received a preventive health care examination during a period between 2002-2003. Receiving a preventive health care examination increased the likelihood of having colorectal cancer testing by 40.4 percent, screening mammography by 14.2 percent and prostate-specific antigen testing by 39.4 percent.

"The preventive health examination may serve as a clinically important forum for the promotion of evidence-based colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening and of prostate cancer screening, which is not universally recommended," the authors conclude.

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