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Increase In Preventive Care Would Reduce US Deaths

Armen Hareyan's picture

More than 100,000 lives would be saved annually if U.S. residentsincreased the use of five preventive services, according to a reportreleased on Tuesday by the Partnership for Prevention, Reutersreports. The report found increasing low-dose aspirin use among adultsfrom fewer than half of U.S. residents to 90% would save 45,000 livesannually.

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The report also found that 42,000 lives could be savedif 90% of smokers were advised by physicians to quit and were offeredprescription drugs and other services to help; 14,000 lives would besaved if 90% of adults older than age 50 were screened for colorectalcancer; 12,000 lives would be saved if 90% of people older than age 50received annual influenza vaccinations; and 4,000 lives could be savedif all women older than age 40 received regular breast cancerscreenings. Currently, about 28% of smokers are provided with therecommended services, and 37% of U.S. adults receive annual flu shots.Sixty-seven percent of women have been screened for breast cancer inthe past two years, according to the report.

The report alsofound some racial disparities in the use of preventive care. Hispanicsmokers were 55% less likely than white smokers to receive help to quitsmoking, and Asian-Americans were less likely than all other racialgroups to take aspirin and get screened for colorectal and breastcancer, according to the report.

Kathleen Toomey of CDC, which helped fund the study along with the WellPoint Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,said, "To actually implement this and have the impact of saving 100,000lives will really require a multipronged approach, with public healthtaking the lead." She added, "Our nation has never truly invested inprevention" (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 8/7).

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