Not enough Americans are taking this potentially life-saving step

A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that screening rates for breast, prostate, cervical and colon cancer are lower than certain targets.

Are you pushing back or skipping out on routine checks for cancer? You’re not alone.

Through the 15-year study, researchers reported that breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer made up 40% of cancer cases diagnosed in 2013, and these cancers accounted for 20% of cancer deaths.

Researchers attributed the lack of screening to individuals not having health insurance, a regular health provider – or simply not following through with doctor-recommended screenings.

The best way to know whether you should have a cancer screening is to ask your doctor.

“Many of the above mentioned cancers have effective screening tests that carry a very low risk of complications,” says Dr. Sumin Shah, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “These tests are life saving measures that should be completed.”

According to the CDC, the only type of cancer screening to increase in percentage over the course of 2000-2015 was colon cancer. Regardless of the increase in screenings, testing for colorectal cancer was still only 60% of the targeted population.

Pap tests and mammograms, both proactive ways of identifying cancer, reached more of their targeted populations, but neither showed much growth over the years.

Evaluating your health and knowing your estimated risks of developing certain diseases can lead to effective treatment sooner.

Talk with your primary care physician about which screenings are appropriate.

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