• By Jeff Olsen

National Health Checkup: Obstacles, opportunities in cancer care

September 12, 2017

More than 6 in 10 Americans (62 percent) have experienced a cancer diagnosis, personally or through a loved one, according to the new Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup.

More than 1,100 adults took part in the September 2017 round of the biannual survey of American health opinions and behaviors, revealing obstacles and opportunities in cancer care.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"The survey, in aggregate, was just eye-opening," says Dr. Minetta Liu, a Mayo Clinic medical oncologist.

Dr. Liu says the results reveal obstacles to cancer care – beginning when symptoms occur.

"The barrier seems to be getting to the physician to tell them that," adds Dr. Liu.

Financial concerns, insurance and time for appointments are the top three barriers.

The survey also revealed opportunities in cancer screening and prevention education.

"From the prevention perspective, I think we are all taking more responsibility for our own health, which is incredibly encouraging," explains Dr. Liu.

Nine out of 10 Americans report knowing their family history of cancer, with 95 percent taking one or more steps to avoid the disease – including avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol and eating healthy.

"We all have responsibilities, whether you’re a researcher, a provider, someone in the industry, or a patient themselves," says Dr. Liu. "We all need to be contributing to help take this forward."

For results on attitudes about skin and colon cancer screenings and the HPV cancer vaccine, visit the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup website.

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