U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Updates Cancer Screening Recommendations
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released updated recommendations for skin cancer and breast cancer screenings in spring 2023. Regarding skin cancer, the USPSTF found that because of insufficient evidence, “the balance of benefits and harms for visual skin examination by a clinician to screen for skin cancer in asymptomatic adolescents and adults cannot be determined.” For breast cancer, the draft recommendation from USPSTF stated that all women should get screened every other year, starting at age 40.
America Needs Better Access and Equity to Reduce Mortality Rates and Achieve Cancer Moonshot Goals
U.S. healthcare providers need improved access to interventions known to prevent common causes of cancer death so the country can achieve President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, according to a National Institutes of health study published in April 2023 that was led by National Cancer Institute researchers.
Most Cancer Screening Guidelines Don’t Disclose Potential Harms
For nearly 2,500 years, nonmaleficence, or “do no harm,” has been a fundamental tenet of medical ethics. Yet none of today’s U.S. breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer screening guidelines report all of the harms associated with screening tests, researchers said in study results published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Task Force Recommends Patient Navigation Services Increase Certain Cancer Screening to Advance Health Equity
Patient navigation services must increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening for disadvantaged racial and ethnic populations and people with lower incomes, the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommended. Patient navigation services, coupled with timely and appropriate follow-up care and treatment, could improve health equity for these groups, in some cases reducing cancer mortality and incidence, the task force added.
Lung Cancer Screening and Early Detection Drastically Improves Survival Rates
Increases in early-stage lung cancer diagnoses with low-dose computed tomography screening have led to sustained improvements in survival rates more than 20 years later, researchers said while presenting their study findings at the 2022 Radiological Society of North America annual meeting.
FDA Updates Mammography Regulations to Promote Better Screenings and Communication for Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its mammography regulations in March 2023 to require institutions to notify patients about their breast density. The updated regulations strengthen FDA’s oversight and enforcement of institutions and help healthcare providers better categorize and assess mammograms.
Pancreatic Cancer Surveillance Programs Lead to Earlier Diagnoses and Better Outcomes
Most patients at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer whose disease was found while participating in a screening program were diagnosed with early-stage cancers, according to study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
HRSA-Funded Health Centers and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Partner to Improve Equity in Cancer Screening
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded more than $5 million in September 2022 to 11 HRSA-funded community health centers to help underserved populations access cancer screenings and early detection services in partnership with National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers.
Testicular Cancer Survivors May Need Fewer Monitoring Scans
Monitoring early-stage testicular cancer survivors for disease recurrence after surgery using either magnetic resonance imaging or fewer computed tomography scans is just as effective as more frequent intervals, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
CDC Awards $215 Million to Advance President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot
To support the objectives of President Joe Biden’s relaunched Cancer Moonshot initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $215 million to three national cancer programs in June 2022. The funds are part of a $1.1 billion investment in cancer prevention and control.
As Skin Cancer Screening Increases, Clinicians Find More Thin Melanomas
Although regular population-based skin cancer screening isn’t recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, more Americans are getting full-body skin exams at dermatology visits or other provider services. Data from a new study published in JAMA Dermatology suggest that the screening uptick is associated with increased diagnoses of early-stage, in situ melanoma, leading the researchers to raise concerns about overdiagnosis.
Community Health Centers Get Funding to Advance Equity in Cancer Screening and Follow-Up Care
With the relaunch of the Biden-Harris administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, the fight against cancer is back in the government spotlight. To support the Moonshot’s goals, in May 2022 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocated $5 million to the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded community health centers.
Use of Anxiety and Depression Drugs Linked to Increased PSA Testing
Patients who take anxiety or depression medication are more likely to obtain prostate-specific antigen tests, according to study findings that researchers presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
More Patients Are Skipping Their Cervical Cancer Screenings
Nearly a quarter of patients who are eligible for cervical cancer screening are overdue for their current tests, researchers said in study findings published in JAMA Network Open. The number grew nearly 10% since 2005—representing a steady increase in missed screening over time—and was higher in different sociodemographic groups because of factors related to social determinants of health.
CDC Emphasizes Importance of Cancer Screenings During COVID-19
“Cancer doesn’t wait, and neither should you,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged patients in its new cancer screening adherence campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic has created barriers to regular health visits, screenings, and treatment for individuals everywhere, and providers and organizations alike are seeking solutions.
APRN Roles Evolve to Address Cancer Screening, Treatment Adherence, and Public Health
Responses to pandemic-related screening and treatment delays have created new opportunities for oncology advanced practice RNs (APRNs), too. In both their institutions and communities, APRNs are guiding patients and providers to reverse the increases in late cancer diagnoses, morbidity, and mortality—ultimately improving outcomes.
CMS Expands Eligibility Criteria for Lung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose Computed Tomography
More Medicare beneficiaries now meet age, smoking history, and other criteria for lung cancer screening and are now eligible to receive low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), according to a February 2022 memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
How to Promote and Maintain Cancer Screening as COVID-19 Persists
For the past two years, patients and providers have turned their attention to combatting a global health threat. We’ve nearly crumbled amid the chaos, but carried on through acts of comfort and innovation. However, as we pled for an end to this nightmare, for heard immunity through vaccination, another health threat took a backseat. Cancer screening rates plummeted, particularly among communities of color. Oncology nurses can use evidence-based interventions to increase screening rates for all patients with cancer.
Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for Women and Children Improve Under Affordable Care Act
Comprehensive preventive care and screening guidelines for women and infants, children, and adolescents under the Affordable Care Act expanded in January 2022, requiring certain group health plans and insurance plans to provide coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for preventive health services, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Rural Populations’ Fatalistic Perceptions About Cancer May Contribute to Cancer Disparities
Compared to people living in urban areas, on a nationwide U.S. survey, rural populations were more likely to report believing that cancer is unpreventable and always fatal. Researchers reported the survey findings and analysis in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
CDC Releases Video Series About Gynecologic Cancers
Multimedia tools and resources can help patients learn more about a cancer diagnosis, treatment regimens, procedures, and follow-up care, among other important topics, and many institutions and organizations have jumped onto the bandwagon to create those resources for their patients. A new video series on gynecologic cancers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds another patient education resource to oncology nurses’ toolbox.
FDA Launches National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week
African Americans have a higher cancer burden and face greater obstacles to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survival, according to the American Cancer Society. Health organizations such as ONS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are dedicated to breaking down barriers and improve access to quality care and resources for those patients. To increase cancer awareness in one of the most vulnerable segments of the U.S. population, the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) dedicated June 17–23, 2021, as National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week.
USPSTF Recommends Colorectal Cancer Screening Should Begin at 45
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, with an estimated 52,980 individuals in the U.S. projected to die from the disease in 2021. After evaluating the current evidence and conducting a modeling study, USPSTF updated its recommendations on colorectal cancer screening.
Survey Results Support Predicted Effects of Pandemic Screening Drop
Clinicians are already seeing an increase in late-stage cancer diagnoses that they attribute to the pandemic-driven pause in cancer screening and treatment adherence, according to the results of a survey from the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
Text Messaging Reduces Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Screening
A series of text reminders to complete an at-home fecal immunochemical test increased screening completion rates by nearly 20%, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The results are particularly encouraging because almost 90% of the participants were Black, a population that typically has low screening adherence rates but higher incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer.
Cancer Deaths Decline, CDC Says, but More Prevention and Screening Are Needed
Cancer mortality rates decreased by 27% from 1999–2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in February 2021. However, cancer remains the one of the leading causes of death in the United States, second only to heart disease, and disparities remain. More needs to be done to decrease risk and increase prevention.
The Case of the Transgender Considerations for Cancer Screening
Sally, a nurse practitioner in a cancer survivorship clinic, is preparing to discuss screening and surveillance guidelines with Jonah, a 32-year-old survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma. Sally reviews Jonah’s patient history form and notes that Jonah uses he and him pronouns. His gender identity is male and sex assigned at birth was female. Jonah’s surgical history includes gender-affirming surgery on chest tissue (also known as top surgery), and his current medications include supplemental testosterone. Jonah also specifies that he is transmasculine—an umbrella term used to indicate that Jonah feels a connection with masculinity.
Research Validates Tools to Increase Screening in Communities of Color
Reduced adherence to recommended screening and prevention relates to a lack of knowledge and barriers like inadequate insurance, low engagement with primary care, time constraints, and misconceptions about risks of screening or their individual risk of developing cancer. We must do a better job of educating people about cancer screening and linking them to affordable or free services.
All Patients, Regardless of Insurance, Must Have Access to Cancer Screening
To increase access to breast and cervical cancer screening, U.S. Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990, which led to the creation of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). Because of NBCCEDP, eligible women who are low-income, underserved, and underinsured receive free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic testing.
Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines to Reduce Disparities May Increase Them Instead—But Risk Model Can Help
The draft 2020 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) lung cancer screening recommendations were intended to increase the number of high-risk minorities eligible for lifesaving tests. And they do, but not as much as USPSTF anticipated, still leaving gaps and disparities, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They created a risk model to augment the guidelines that eliminated the disparities for most racial groups.
CDC Campaign Fights Declining Cancer Screening Rates
Nearly 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. However, overall cancer screenings dropped roughly 80% in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and statewide stay-at-home orders. To combat the decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new outreach campaign reminds patients and providers of the importance of cancer screening.
Patient Education Reduces Barriers and Increases Adherence Rates
Patient education is an essential aspect of cancer prevention. Nearly 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021, and modifiable risk factors are responsible for approximately 35% of cancer-related deaths. However, less than half of Americans understand the major risk factors that contribute to the development of cancer.
Medicaid Expansion Coincides With Earlier Colon Cancer Diagnosis Rates
U.S. states that adopted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in January 2014 have earlier colon cancer diagnoses, enhanced access to care, and improved colon cancer surgical care than states that didn’t implement the expansion, researchers reported in Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, patients in the expansion states were more likely to have minimally invasive procedures and fewer urgent surgeries.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Prevention, Screening, Diagnosis, Treatment, Side Effects, and Survivorship
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for about one quarter of cancer deaths, and more than a quarter of million lung cancer diagnoses are projected in the United States for 2020. Lung cancer has various types, pathologies, and histologies, each with its own prognosis and treatment plan. Non-small cell lung cancer consists of about 80%–85% of lung cancer diagnoses.
ACS Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Prefer HPV Over Pap Tests
People with a cervix who are aged 25–65 years should receive a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years, according to the new American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines for cervical cancer screening.
A Primer on Urothelial Cancer
The urinary system, including the bladder, ureters, urethra, and renal pelvis, is lined with urothelial tissue. Urothelial carcinoma is the predominant histologic type of cancer in that system, and 90% of tumors are located in the bladder. With more than 81,400 new cases and nearly 18,000 deaths estimated for 2020, bladder cancer is the fifth most prevalent type of cancer in the United States.
As True Detectives, Genetics Professionals Uncover the Meaning of True or Noninformative Negative Results
Patients who watch crime shows think that DNA testing is as simple as taking a cheek swab and getting the results in two minutes so the case is solved at the end of the 42-minute episode. The reality? DNA can be identified from buccal cells in a cheek swab, but results take several weeks to obtain and are not always a simple negative or positive.
Develop Your Individual Cancer Screening Plan
As oncology nurses, we know that catching cancer early through screening leads to better outcomes and increased survival rates. We ask our survivors and loved ones to prioritize their cancer screenings, reminding them, “I do not want to see you in my clinic chair or hospital bed with cancer, especially not at an advanced level.” Take care of yourself by giving yourself the same lecture.
Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer Prevention, Screening, Treatment, and Survivorship Recommendations
Approximately 53,000 cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Men are twice as likely to develop the disease, and it typically affects people older than 55.
Adding MRI to Prostate Cancer Testing Improves Accuracy, NIH Study Says
Combining a traditional 12-point biopsy with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) improves the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis, according to findings from a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Screening, Treatment, and Survivorship Recommendations
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer affecting men and women in the United States. When CRC is found at an early stage before it has spread, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90%, yet it remains a leading cause of cancer-related death among both genders.
World Gets Closer to Identifying Cancer’s Genomic Drivers
Although most cancers contain four to five driver mutations, those drivers remain unknown for about 5% of cancers, according to results of a series of studies examining genomes from 38 different cancer types. The international Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium reported the findings in a collection of 23 articles published in Nature and other affiliated journals.
Women With Diabetes Are Less Likely to Get Cancer Screenings
Modest differences may exist among women with diabetes compared to healthy controls when it comes to adhering to screening recommendations for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, according to results of a study published in Diabetologia.
Nurses Are Central to Lung Cancer Screening Conversations
Participation in clinician and patient conversations about lung cancer screening—as well as the actual screening itself—is relatively low. According to one study, only 3.9% of screening-
eligible patients had undergone lung cancer screening. Because the screening recommendations are newer, most patients are unaware that they exist, and research highlights that only 10%–12% of the patient population has had conversations with their clinicians about it.
Ovarian Cancer: Prevention, Screening, Treatment, and Survivorship Recommendations
Even though its incidence is less common, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in women, according to the American Cancer Society. It also estimated more than 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer in 2019, with a five-year survival of 47% for all stages.