Summary and Conclusion

This chapter has reviewed the evidence related to the epidemiology, natural history, and screening of four common cancers (breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate). It presents this evidence within the context of the challenges of primary care practice and emphasizes the need to view cancer screening as a process of care. Ensuring access to screening and treatment for all is necessary to achieve the potential for mortality reduction afforded by current screening technologies. Regardless of healthcare coverage, organized systems are needed to ensure progress throughout the continuum of care. Implementation of the numerous steps and transitions in this continuum requires the interest, commitment, and collaborative action of patients, primary care providers, specialty care providers, administrators, and public health officials. Only through this collaboration can mortality reduction be maximized.171

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