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14.1% of all cancers in the United States – a small part is detected by recommended screening tests, a new report.

The report, published online Wednesday by researchers at the nonprofit research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, suggests that the remaining signs of cancer are discovered when a person develops symptoms or seeks imaging or medical attention for other reasons.

“I am shocked that only 14 percent of cancers are diagnosed. I think, for a lot of people, we talk a lot about cancer screening, and we think that’s how all cancers are diagnosed. We talk about mammograms and colonoscopies all the time, said Caroline Pearson, the report’s author and senior vice president of the organization.

However, “most cancers don’t have screening tests,” Pearson said.

The technical report found that four types of cancer—breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung—have screening tests recommended for use by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the percentage of cancers diagnosed varies among those types: 61% breast, 52% cervical, 45% colorectal, and 3%. Lung cancer. Although prostate cancer screening is not widely recommended, the report includes data on prostate cancer and the data indicates that 77 percent of prostate cancers are diagnosed.

The report, which was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, is based on data from 2017. But Pearson says studies since then have shown that rates of cancer diagnoses have dropped in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. She suspects that the percentage of cancers currently diagnosed may be lower than found in the new report.

“I definitely think the percentage of diagnosed cancers will be lower because of the epidemic. “We know that people are missing a huge number of recommended screening tests, and we’re seeing those cancers show up at later stages in clinical settings,” Pearson said. “So with the reduction in screening, there are fewer cancers diagnosed that way, and that’s certainly something we pick up in the data.

For the new report, Pearson and her colleagues developed a model to calculate the percentage of cancers diagnosed, using data from the National Cancer Institute, national screening rates from the National Health Interview Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several measures of how cancers are diagnosed. Studies.

In the medical literature, there is not much information about the cancers diagnosed in the medical literature. Screening tests have been identified through diagnosis, including the important role they play in catching cancer early.

“We use the most robust data and analytics to better understand how cancer affects different populations and how we can improve equity,” Pearson said. “I want researchers around the world to understand some of these assumptions and some of the geographic disparities that we’re seeing across the country and how we can begin to shape the public policy environment to improve treatment. Improve screening across the country.”

Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University, was not surprised by the new report’s findings — especially since some cancer tests could be improved by their performance.

“Everyone has been led to believe that screening is better than it really is,” said Brawley, who was not involved in the new report. We need to invest in research to find better tests.

For example, regarding breast cancer, he said, “Clinical trials tell us that screening can prevent 25% of those who will die from breast cancer.” “In America, 60% of women between the ages of 50 and 70 are screened. This means that we can only prevent 15% of the deaths that could occur. It also means that many patients are diagnosed with cancer after a negative screening test.

People in the United States can benefit from taking cancer prevention measures — such as screening and maintaining a healthy lifestyle — but the public could benefit from better screening tests themselves, Brawley said.

“We spend a lot of time pushing screening and pushing screening tests — yes, it saves lives, but we need to be able to save more lives,” he said. “We want better.”