Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Preventative steps could save 100,000 lives

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Increased use of five preventative services would save more than 100,000 lives in the U.S. every year, according to Partnership for Prevention, a nonprofit health policy group.

The services and behaviors are taking a low dose of aspirin every day for the prevention of heart disease, offering more services to help smokers quit, offering more colorectal and breast cancer screenings and offering flu shots for those over 50. The report also uncovered racial disparities in the use of preventative care. For example, Hispanic smokers are 55 percent less likely than whites to get help to quit smoking and Asian-Americans are the least likely to take aspirin and get screened for breast and colorectal cancer.

The study found that 42,000 lives a year would be saved if 90 percent of smokers were advised to quit and offered cessation treatments. Only 28 percent of smokers get such services. An additional 14,000 lives would be saved if 90 percent of adults over 50 were screened for colorectal cancer. Breast cancer screening for all women over 40 would save another 4,000 lives, according to the report.

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