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CDC To Track Prevention Progress with Monthly ’Vital Signs’

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 6, 2010

In breast cancer, screening was lower for women with less than a high school education and women in low-income brackets. “Lack of insurance appears to be one of the primary reasons for racial and ethnic differences in colon and breast cancer screening rates,” the CDC says.

The agency’s press release estimated that 30,000 people died last year because they weren’t screened for colon or breast cancer, which could have been removed before it had spread. But at the news briefing, Frieden stepped back from that number saying that number was controversial, because some metastatic cancer cases are discovered in people in age brackets older than those recommended for screening.

Future editions of new monthly report will highlight issues in obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, access to healthcare, motor vehicle safety, HIV and AIDS, teen pregnancy, infant mortality, as well as cardiovascular health, asthma, and food safety. As health reform provisions are put into practice and as more Americans have health benefits, the CDC hopes to see disease numbers decline as screenings increase.

“In each area we have a large burden of disease and a lot of things we can do to make a difference to prevent illness, prevent death, save money, and drive down our healthcare costs,” Frieden says. “Are we making progress or are we not?”


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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