Medical advances in healthcare have significantly lowered the mortality rates among cancer patients in the United States. But no matter how good the science, the best approach to cancer care is early detection. Preventive screenings can save lives and improve survivorship by alerting physicians to the danger before it becomes too serious.

Information presented at the Better Together Health 2017 event in the Council of Accountable Physician Practices’ (CAPP) and American Cancer Society paper, “The State of Cancer Care in America,” revealed that despite physicians’ promotion of preventive screenings, patients aren’t getting them consistently. Among the statistics:

  • The CDC reports almost one third of women don’t have pap smears on a regular basis
  • More than one fourth of insured women older than forty haven’t had a mammogram in two years—the number rises to more than sixty percent with women who don’t have insurance
  • Although the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause up to six different types of cancer, the rates at which HPV vaccines are taken by adolescents fall behind those of other vaccines despite medical recommendations

A study from Kaiser Permanente concluded that delaying colonoscopies after positive fecal tests both greatly increases the risk of a cancer diagnosis and the chance the cancer will already be in an advanced state. While the numbers show that the increased coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act has boosted early cancer detection rates, there is still much to be done improving care coordination to get more patients into timely and regular screenings.

Visit the Better Together website for more information about how coordinated care helps patients get screenings in the routines that serve them best.

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