DENVER (KDVR) — Nearly 2 million Americans are projected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2023, according to the American Cancer Society.

Experts said screenings can help detect disease early. But even post-pandemic, Prevent Cancer Foundation’s first annual Early Detection Survey found people are still delaying routine screenings.

When cancer is detected early it increases your chance of survival, so, you don’t want to blow off those screenings. 

Routine screenings can detect cancer early even if you have no signs or symptoms. If you catch a potential diagnosis early, you might also require less extensive treatment or have more treatment options. 

The Prevent Cancer Foundation conducted a study and found that people were better about their routine car maintenance, like oil changes, than they were about their routine health screenings like cancer screenings. 

65% of people aged 21 and older were not up to date with at least one of their routine cancer screenings. They hope sharing this data will encourage people to take initiative.  

“What’s also important is that people are encouraging each other. So, when you’re talking to your friends or family, I mean, maybe it’s not the ideal conversation to have at a family dinner table but it is an important one. So making sure you’re encouraging each other to get the screenings you need and talking about your experience to help others in their journey is really important,” said CEO of Prevent Cancer Foundation Jody Hoyos, MHA.

To educate Americans on the routine cancer screenings they need and encourage them to schedule appointments, the Prevent Cancer Foundation launched a new campaign, “Early Detection = Better Outcomes.”  

So, why aren’t people getting screened? 

The foundation said in the last few years they thought people weren’t getting screened to avoid COVID exposure, which is still true in some cases, but now there are multiple factors. 

Survey participants cite not knowing they need to be screened (39%), not having symptoms (37%) and inability to afford the cost (31%) as top reasons for not being up to date. Additionally, 40% of respondents said they have never discussed routine cancer screenings with their healthcare provider. 

The survey highlights the need for culturally relevant resources tailored for Hispanic and Black communities. Hispanic participants reported significantly lower rates for breast cancer screening (46%) compared to Black participants (61%) and white participants (63%). For colorectal cancer screening, Hispanic participants (46%) and Black participants (54%) reported significantly lower rates than white participants (61%).

“We also provide community grants directly to communities that are providing care at the local level so they can educate people and conduct the screenings and address some of the barriers that you mentioned, like transportation, language barriers, cultural barriers, and we also fund research so that we can advocate over the field ahead and prevention and early detection,” said Hoyos.  

A new interactive tool delivers a personalized screening plan that you can take with you to the doctor’s office.