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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 May 17. pii: cebp.0219.2017. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0219. [Epub ahead of print]

Updated review of prevalence of major risk factors and use of screening tests for cancer in the United States.

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Intramural Research Department, American Cancer Society
Intramural Research Department, American Cancer Society.


Much of the suffering and death from cancer could be prevented by more systematic efforts to reduce tobacco use and obesity, improve diet, and increase physical activity and use of established vaccines and screening tests. Monitoring the prevalence of cancer risk factors and preventive tests helps guide cancer prevention and early detection efforts. We provide an updated review, using data through 2015, of the prevalence of major risk factors, cancer screening, and vaccination for U.S. adults and youth. Cigarette smoking among adults decreased to 15.3% in 2015 but remains higher among lower socioeconomic persons (GED: 34.1%, graduate degree: 3.7%), with considerable state variation (Utah: 9.1%, Kentucky: 26.0%). The prevalence of obesity among both adults (37.7%) and adolescents (20.6%) remains high, particularly among black women (57.2%) and ranges from 20.2% (Colorado) to 36.2% (Louisiana) among adults. Pap testing remains the most commonly utilized cancer screening test (81.4%). While colorectal cancer screening has increased, only 62.6% are up-to-date with recommendations. Cancer screening is lowest among the uninsured and varies across states. Despite some improvements, systematic efforts to further reduce the suffering and death from cancer should be enhanced. Continued investment in surveillance of cancer prevention and early detection metrics is also needed.

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