Public health in cancer screening


Published on

Published in: Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Public health in cancer screening

  1. 1. EDITORIAL New Roles for Public Health in Cancer Screening Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Associate Director for Science, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Djenaba Joseph, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Colorectal Cancer Control Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GAScreening tests for the early detection of breast, cervical, and territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN)colorectal cancer are prioritized clinical preventive services tribes or tribal groups. They, in turn, have contracted withthat can reduce the burden of cancer in the United States.1 individual providers, practice networks, hospital systems,While significant progress has been made in this area, health centers, and local health departments to recruit andscreening rates for breast and cervical cancers have not screen medically underserved, low-income women aged 40improved in almost a decade and rates for colorectal cancer to 64 years for breast cancer and women aged 18 to 64 yearsare unacceptably low. Lack of insurance has traditionally for cervical cancer. In 2000, the Breast and Cervical Cancerbeen the main factor preventing adults from obtaining Prevention and Treatment Act allowed states to providecancer screening.2 Components of the Patient Protection Medicaid coverage to women diagnosed with breast cancerand Affordable Care Act will help address this through through the NBCCEDP.Medicaid expansion, subsidized state insurance exchanges, A 2009 analysis by the Government Accounting Officeand the elimination of cost sharing. found that current funding for the NBCCEDP allowed it However, access to health insurance and medical care to reach 15% of eligible, uninsured, low-income womenare not the only factors that limit participation in cancer for breast cancer screening. Approximately 26% of thisscreening. Many people who currently have health insurance population receives screening through other mechanisms.and regular access to medical care are not being screened. The remaining 60% may not be screened.6 SubsequentBased on 2010 National Health Interview Survey data, analysis of the NBCCEDP’s effect on breast cancer morta-among adults aged 50 to 75 years with a regular source of lity found that the program saved 369,000 life-yearsmedical care, only 62% were up to date with screening for compared with women who received no screening.7 Thecolorectal cancer and only 75% of women in this age range median medical costs of providing breast and cervical cancerhad received a mammogram within the preceding 2 years.3 screening services in the NBCCEDP are $120 and $59,Analyses of national Medicare data revealed that, despite respectively, which compares favorably with cost data fromcoverage of cancer screening services, only 66% of eligible other health care delivery systems. The outreach and servicewomen had undergone a mammogram within the past delivery components of the NBCCEDP play an important2 years4 and only 47% of adults had insurance claims role in addressing health care disparities. Of the 1.6 milliondocumenting adequate screening for colorectal cancer.5 To women screened for breast cancer by the program fromrealize the full potential of anticipated improvements in 2005 through 2010, 17% were black, 27% were Hispanic,access to care, public health must provide leadership to ensurethat cancer screening is proactive, organized, and equitable. and 3% were AI/AN. The CDC has also developed a national system to ensureEfforts Should Build on Existing Infrastructure the timely follow-up and treatment of patients withand Capacity abnormal screening test results. The CDC requires fundedExisting public health infrastructure could be built upon to providers to collect and report state-based, standardizedincrease cancer screening rates. In 1990, Congress passed data to the Minimum Data Elements registry. This registrythe Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, is the only national system that collects information towhich authorized the Centers for Disease Control and monitor attainment of screening quality. The NBCCEDPPrevention (CDC) to implement the National Breast and has consistently met its quality standards on diagnosticCervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). follow-up and treatment initiation since the inception ofThe CDC funds 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 US the program. A study on the timeliness of breast cancerCorresponding author: Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and HealthPromotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NEMS-K52, Atlanta, GA 30341; Ifs1@cdc.govDISCLOSURES: The authors report no conflicts of interest. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarilyrepresent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Published 2012 American Cancer Society, Inc. †This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.doi: 10.3322/caac.21147. Available online at VOLUME 00 _ NUMBER 0 _ MONTH/MONTH 2012 1
  2. 2. New Roles for Public Health in Cancer Screening EDITORIAL diagnosis and treatment in state, tribal, and territorial Public Health Should Develop Organized programs found that 80% of women were diagnosed Cancer Screening Systems within 60 days of abnormal screening test results and almost Surveillance of cancer screening in the United States is 94% of women initiated treatment within 60 days currently based on self-reported population surveys that after diagnosis. Comparison with a similar population monitor temporal trends in screening use. However, data on of women in New Jersey reported median diagnostic current screening rates would be more accurate if they were intervals that were almost 2 weeks longer than those for based on actual use of services. Public health agencies are the NBCCEDP.8 uniquely positioned to lead the development of centralized data systems for cancer screening because of their access More Aggressive Approaches Are Needed to population data and their experience developing, to Improve Cancer Screening implementing, and managing surveillance systems that require patient confidentiality. These data could be used to The infrastructure to promote and ensure cancer screening develop more organized, systematic approaches to cancer in the United States must be expanded to achieve desired screening in the United States. screening goals. While the medical care system is an impor- For example, centralized lists from insurance company tant partner in promoting and providing cancer screening databases or emerging state insurance exchanges could be services, efforts to increase screening rates in this setting are developed and managed to prompt eligible adults, via limited by the opportunistic nature of clinical services. Most telephone, mail, or electronic reminders, to participate in patients are offered screening tests when they visit a medical screening. More resource-intensive approaches, such as case provider for unrelated reasons. Evidence-based interven- management and patient navigation, could be targeted to tions, including reminders to clients and providers to ensure that individuals are screened on time, have been shown to more effectively reach communities most affected by health increase cancer screening rates.9 Screening registries have care disparities. In particular, public health departments will been found to improve the follow-up of patients with have a tremendous opportunity to work collaboratively with positive screening tests.8 However, the widespread state Medicaid programs to increase cancer screening as implementation of these approaches has been challenging in previously uninsured adults become eligible. Public health our fragmented health care system. In a recent study of agencies could work with state Medicaid programs to primary care physicians’ practices, only 40% reported that identify populations eligible for screening from Medicaid they had a system in place to remind patients to come in for enrollee data and actively link these individuals with available breast or cervical cancer screenings.10 Compared with the screening services. Agencies could also develop data linkages general population, minorities and those from lower and clinical registries to monitor participation, diagnostic socioeconomic backgrounds receive less timely follow-up follow-up, treatment initiation, and long-term outcomes. after an abnormal screening test.11 The patient-centered Provider systems must be fully integrated into these medical home is an emerging model with which to improve efforts to ensure they do not create a demand that providers the quality of medical practice. This approach could be are not ready to fulfill. Efforts currently are ongoing applied to the delivery of clinical preventive services but, to increase the capacity of Federally Qualified Health to date, efforts have focused primarily on achieving Centers (FQHCs) to provide clinical services. Public health intermediate outcomes in the management of patients with departments could expand on their existing relationships diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.12 with FQHCs through the NBCCEDP. Collaborative A more organized and comprehensive approach is needed approaches could include expedited screening referrals, to increase cancer screening participation among individuals direct mailing of fecal occult blood test kits to patients, who already have medical insurance or are likely to become and the use of practice-based outreach workers in tradition- insured through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ally underserved communities. Systems to improve the Act. Lessons can be learned from other countries and from follow-up of patients with abnormal screening tests could some managed care systems in the United States. They have be based on the experience of the CDC’s existing quality actively developed systems to identify members who are eli- assurance system described above. Recent initiatives to gible to participate in recommended screenings and have expand the implementation of electronic health records in also developed practices to ensure appropriate follow-up of FQHCs could facilitate these efforts to ensure appropriate patients with positive tests. These programs enhance diagnostic testing and treatment. recruitment into organized screening programs through In an era of health care reform, public health has opportu- direct personal invitations. Media advertising is used to nities to ensure that participation in cancer screening is reinforce these personal invitations, and there is active widespread and equitable. Given the magnitude of cancer surveillance of screening use. morbidity and mortality, and the considerable capacity that2 CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
  3. 3. EDITORIALhas been developed throughout the 22-year history of the 5. Schenck AP, Peacock SC, Klabunde CN, Lapin P, Coan JF, Brown ML. Trends in colorectal cancer test use in the Medicare population,NBCCEDP, public health has a responsibility to lead a 1998-2005. Am J Prev Med. 2009;37:1-7.national approach to cancer control that is comprehensive, 6. United States Government Accountability Office. Medicaid: Source of Screening Affects Women’s Eligibility for Coverage of Breast andstrategic, and organized. An initial focus on developing an Cervical Cancer Treatment in Some States. system to improve cancer screening could ulti- GAO-09-384. Accessed April 2, 2012. 7. Hoerger TJ, Ekwueme DU, Miller JW, et al. Estimated effects of themately be expanded to other clinical preventive services. n National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program on breast cancer mortality. Am J Prev Med. 2011;40:397-404.References 8. Richardson LC, Royalty J, Howe W, Helsel W, Kammerer W, Benard VB. Timeliness of breast cancer diagnosis and initiation of1. Maciosek MV, Coffield AB, Edwards NM, Flottemesch TJ, Solberg treatment in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detec- LI. Prioritizing clinical preventive services: a review and framework tion Program, 1996-2005. Am J Public Health. 2010;100:1769-1776. with implications for community preventive services. Annu Rev 9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cancer Prevention and Public Health. 2009;30:341-355. Control: Provider-Oriented Screening Interventions. http://2. Schueler KM, Chu PW, Smith-Bindman R. Factors associated with mammography utilization: a systematic quantitative review of the index.html. Accessed July 1, 2011. literature. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2008;17:1477-1498. 10. Yabroff KR, Zapka J, Klabunde CN, et al. Systems strategies to sup-3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cancer port cancer screening in U.S. primary care practice. Cancer Epide- screening-United States, 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. miol Biomarkers Prev. 2011;20:2471-2479. 2012;61:41-45. 11. Taplin SH, Ichikawa L, Yood MU, et al. Reason for late-stage breast4. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older cancer: absence of screening or detection, or breakdown in follow- Americans 2010: Indicators of Well-Being. Washington, DC: US up? J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96:1518-1527. Government Printing Office; 2010. 12. Sarfaty M, Wender R, Smith R. Promoting cancer screening within agingstatsdotnet/Main_Site/Data/2010_Documents/docs/Health_Risks_ the patient centered medical home. CA Cancer J Clin. 2011;61: Behaviors.pdf. Accessed April 2, 2012. 397-408. VOLUME 00 _ NUMBER 0 _ MONTH/MONTH 2012 3