Patterns and Trends in Cancer Screening in the United States

Prev Chronic Dis. 2018 Jul 26;15:E97. doi: 10.5888/pcd15.170465.


Introduction: We examined the prevalence of cancer screening reported in 2015 among US adults, adjusted for important sociodemographic and access-to-care variables. By using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 2000 through 2015, we examined trends in prevalence of cancer screening that adhered to US Preventive Services Task Force screening recommendations in order to monitor screening progress among traditionally underserved population subgroups.

Methods: We analyzed NHIS data from surveys from 2000 through 2015 to estimate prevalence and trends in use of recommended screening tests for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancers. We used logistic regression and report predictive margins for population subgroups adjusted for various socioeconomic and demographic variables.

Results: Colorectal cancer screening was the only test that increased during the study period. We found disparities in prevalence of test use among subgroups for all tests examined. Factors that reduced the use of screening tests included no contact with a doctor in the past year, no usual source of health care, and no insurance coverage.

Conclusion: Understanding use of cancer screening tests among different population subgroups is vital for planning public health interventions with potential to increase screening uptake and reduce disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality. Overarching goals of Healthy People 2020 are to "achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups." Adjusted findings for 2015, compared with previous years, show persistent screening disparities, particularly among the uninsured, and progress for colorectal cancer screening only.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / trends
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult