#GetScreened Campaign Encouraging the Movement of Routine Cancer Screening
Importance of Screening
Cancer is an illness that all too many families are familiar with. As the second leading cause of death in the United States, cancer is a major threat to the lives of millions (CDC, 2022). This massive statistic points to the importance of preventative measures such as routine screenings to reduce one’s risk of a fatal outcome due to cancer. Being proactive in approaching the disease allows for the opportunity to diagnose and treat the cancer at an early stage, drastically improving chances of survival and mitigating the chance for treatment complications. Routine screening is essential in the practice of preventative medicine though can be commonly neglected. Often, the thought of exploring the possibility of a disease or ailment when there are no visible or physical symptoms can seem daunting and unnecessary, but this is a grave misconception. The benefits of early detection far outweigh any discomfort or inconvenience of routine screening. Even in great health, aging predisposes one to a variety of cancers and diseases that could be moderated well before a fatal diagnosis and could save one physical and emotional pain, money, and even one’s life.
The American Cancer Society cross references multiple studies exploring the effects of cancer screenings on associated cancer mortality and found that the use of timely cancer screening prior to diagnosis decreased mortality by about 20% (American Cancer Society, 2019). Catching a diagnosis in its early stages reduces costs and the likelihood of invasive treatment. The detriments of being diagnosed with cancer at a later stage can often be prevented by implementing routine cancer screening, providing hope for easier treatment and recovery.
Taking screening into your own hands can be a frightening and unappealing task, deterring many from getting screened. Public awareness is a crucial step in increasing the routine habit of cancer screenings. Healthy People 2030, a framework to address public health priorities and challenges, objectives C-05, 07 and 09 are to increase the proportion of adults being screened for three different cancer varieties (Healthy People 2030). The incorporation of this objective in a nationwide initiative like Healthy People 2030 promotes visibility of the movement and encourages society to adhere to screening guidelines and implement routine screening into their healthcare regime. Cancer screening is an easily accessible service, now readily available at most doctors’ offices and local health departments. Additionally, many local health departments are equipped with screening opportunities that include options for low-income or uninsured people, increasing overall accessibility. The CDC outlines resources, information, and guidelines of cancer screening via their online platform, addressing many common questions and misconceptions.
In order to increase the momentum of this nationwide call to action, national and local stakeholders must work together to gain traction. Patient Planning Services supports the mission of the social media campaign, #GetScreened, launched by Cancer Support Community and Gilda’s Club network partners in encouraging the movement to get screened and be proactive in one’s health. This campaign was launched in response to the White House’s Cancer Moonshot, instating a call to action for routine cancer screening. Social movements such as the #GetScreened campaign that encourage the practice of routine screening are vital in addressing the estimated 10 million missed screens throughout the pandemic (Preidt, 2021). Incorporating screening in one’s healthcare practice decreases the likelihood of a delayed and more fatal diagnosis.
“The impact of the pandemic will be measured for years to come. The layering of stressors is unlike anything we have seen before, and we want patients to know there is psychosocial support available throughout cancer continuum. We want people to come back for screening, so diagnosis and treatment are not delayed.” Cate O’Reilly, VP Patient Planning Services.
For more information about the pledge and to access resources on cancer screenings, visit: https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/getscreened
“AACR Releases Report Outlining Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Cancer Research and Patient Care.” American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), 15 Feb. 2022, https://www.aacr.org/about-the-aacr/newsroom/news-releases/aacr-releases-report-outlining-impact-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-cancer-research-and-patient-care/.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures 2019-2020. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2019.
Healthy People 2030. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Available from: https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/cancer
USCS Data Visualization – CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcancer%2Fdataviz%2Findex.htm#/AtAGlance/.