Cancer screening practices among cancer survivors

Am J Prev Med. 2005 May;28(4):351-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2005.01.005.


Background: Cancer survivors are more vulnerable to future cancers than individuals without cancer. As such, it is important to understand whether survivors are engaging in cancer screenings.

Methods: The screening practices reported in response to the 2000 Health Interview Survey of 2151 individuals with cancer were examined and compared to those of 30,195 individuals without cancer.

Results: The proportion of cancer survivors obtaining screenings ranged from 21% to 77%. Compared to individuals without cancer, women with cancer were more likely to have had a mammogram (odds ratio [OR]=1.8, 95% CI=1.5-2.1), a clinical breast exam (OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.9-2.5), and/or a Papanicolaou test (OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.1-1.5) in the recommended timeframe. Similarly, men with cancer were more likely than men without cancer to have had a prostate-specific antigen test performed (OR=2.5, 95% CI=2.0-3.0). All cancer survivors were more likely than individuals without a cancer diagnosis to have had a total body skin exam (OR=4.0, 95% CI=3.5-4.6), a fecal occult blood test (OR=1.4, 95% CI=1.2-1.6), and/or a colorectal exam (OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.9-2.5). Similar results were obtained when individuals diagnosed with the cancer for which the screen was designed to detect were excluded.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that cancer survivors have higher screening rates than individuals without a cancer diagnosis. Despite this, the proportion of survivors obtaining screenings varies considerably by the type of screen. An understanding of the impact of cancer screening in cancer survivors, as well as the reasons for and against obtaining cancer screenings, is necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / trends
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Physical Examination
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / prevention & control
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors*
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary
  • Vaginal Smears


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen