Are United States and Canadian Cancer Screening Rates Consistent with Guideline Information Regarding the Age of Screening Initiation?

Published in: International Journal for Quality in Health Care, v. 23, no. 6, Dec. 2011, p. 611-620

Posted on on September 01, 2011

by Srikanth Kadiyala, Erin C. Strumpf

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OBJECTIVE: To understand whether US and Canadian breast, colorectal and prostate cancer screening test utilization is consistent with US and Canadian cancer screening guideline information with respect to the age of screening initiation. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, regression discontinuity. SETTING: Canada and the US. PARTICIPANTS: Canadian and American women of ages 30–60 and men of ages 40–60. INTERVENTIONS: None. MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES: Mammography, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and colorectal cancer test use within the past 2 years. METHODS: We identify US and Canadian compliance with age screening information in a novel manner, by comparing test utilization rates of individuals who are immediately on either side of the guideline recommended initiation ages. RESULTS: US mammography utilization within the last 2 years increased from 33% at age 39 to 48% at age 40 and 60% at age 41. US colorectal cancer test utilization, within the last 2 years, increased from 15% at age 49 to 18% at age 50 and 28% at age 51. US PSA utilization within the last 2 years increased from 37% at age 49 to 44% at age 50 and 54% at age 51. In Canada, mammography utilization within the last 2 years increased from 47% at age 49 to 57% at age 50 and 66% at age 51. CONCLUSION: American and Canadian cancer screening utilization is generally consistent with each country's guideline recommendations regarding age. US and Canadian differences in screening due to guidelines can potentially explain cross-country differences in breast cancer mortality and affect interpretation of international comparisons of cancer statistics.

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