Cancer screening is the most effective way to detect cancer early and improve health outcomes. In the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-January, screening uptake was assessed for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer (CRC). CDC findings reveal that the screening uptake for these three cancers are still below national targets; as a result, GlobalData epidemiologists expect that the rate of new cases will likely continue to remain stable.

Data on cancer screening were obtained from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHiS), an annual survey of a nationally representative sample of the US population. According to the NHIS, 72.30% of women received screening for breast cancer, 66.60% of men and women received screening for CRC, and 83.40% of women received screening for cervical cancer. While over half of the at-risk population are getting screened, these results are suboptimal and do not meet the national target goals of 81.10%, 70.50%, and 93.00%, respectively. Further concerning is the fact that screening uptake trends have experienced little to no change since 2005. As such, GlobalData epidemiologists predict that the diagnosed incidence of breast cancer, CRC, and cervical cancer will likely remain stable over the next 10 years, with any slight increases or decreases attributed to changes in the underlying population (as shown in Figure 1). However, if screening uptake trends change due to new screening methods, changes in health insurance coverage, or improved access to care in underserved populations, then GlobalData epidemiologists expect that the diagnosed incidence rates will likely surpass the current forecast estimates through 2028 as a result of increased case identification.

As highlighted by the CDC data, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening uptake remains subpar with no indication of improvement. Major barriers to screening include lack of access to healthcare, inadequate health insurance coverage, and lack of patient education. GlobalData epidemiologists recommend that future efforts focus on improving these issues through targeted patient outreach, education, local screening initiatives, and better public health policies that ensure proper coverage of preventive services.

Figure 1: US, Diagnosed Incidence of Breast Cancer in Women, Cervical Cancer in Women, and Colorectal Cancer in Both Sexes (Cases per 100,000 Population), Ages ≥18 Years.

Source: GlobalData.