In all, women who get the recommended screenings for breast and cervical cancer are still far more likely than other women to have their colons examined through colonoscopy or other methods, the U-M team reports. But a large percentage of even these apparently health-conscious women fail to get screened for colon cancer, the No. 3 cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer and breast cancer.
In a presentation on May 15 at the annual meeting of the Society for General Internal Medicine, and in a recent talk at the American Roentgen Ray Society annual meeting, the U-M team reports findings from national and Michigan population samples that show a gap between adherence to different types of cancer screening.
In those presentations, and in a recent editorial in the American Journal of Managed Care, the researchers suggest that doctors use the occasion of one cancer screening to educate and motivate women to have another.
"Women have internalized the public health message that they should go for regular mammograms, and that they should have Pap smears, because that's what normal women do for themselves," says Ruth C. Carlos, M.D., M.S., the U-M Health System radiologist who led the research. "Now, they need to add colorectal screenings to the list and we think that there's tremendous opportunity for physicians and health systems to use women's other screening appointments to increase their awareness."
Carlos is lead author on a presentation at the SGIM meeting, to be given by Steven Bernstein, M.D., that shows the gap between breast
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System