“Cancer is most curable when it’s detected at its earliest stages. While it is much too soon to identify the specific cause of this positive trend, or determine whether it is sustainable and will improve outcomes, it is indeed a step in the right direction,” said ASCO President-Elect Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO.
Following full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this study is the first to explore changes in the proportion of cancers — those that can be detected through screening — diagnosed at stage I. The ACA has had a measurable impact on increasing the number of people with health insurance in the United States. The findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Dr. Stegall’s Comments: As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to cancer, screening is essential to finding cancerous and precancerous conditions so that appropriate therapy can be instituted. For women, regular OB-GYN visits to include a physical exam, lab testing, and appropriate imaging are essential, as are colonoscopies starting around age 50. For men, regular physical exams, a PSA lab test, and a colonoscopy starting around age 50 are very important as well. While none of these detection methods are perfect, the good absolutely outweighs the bad. I always encourage patients and doctors to be extremely proactive when it comes to their health, because the public health recommendations are always geared toward achieving minimum standards rather than optimal standards.