Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 11 Sep 2007 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Preventive care ‘could save 100,000’

More than 100,000 American lives could be saved each year with wider use of five preventive measures, a US report has said.

More than 100,000 American lives could be saved each year with wider use of five preventive measures, a US report has said.

The study, by the nonprofit group Partnership for Prevention, calls for increased aspirin use, more colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccination for people over 50 and wider access to smoking cessation counselling.

Of the five measures, wider low-dose aspirin use among adults would have the biggest impact. Compliance in 90% of adults could save an estimated 45,000 lives per year.

"This shows so dramatically the potential impact of prevention," said Dr Kathleen Toomey of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "These are really very modest, low-cost interventions that have such potentially dramatic impact on improving the health of the public."

The study, Toomey notes, underscores the tendency in the United States to treat disease, rather than prevent it. "Our nation has never truly invested in prevention," she said.

Ethic minorities were disproportionately unlikely to invest in preventive measures, the report found. Hispanic smokers were 55% less likely than whites to access smoking cessation counselling. The study found 42,000 lives could be spared if 90% of smokers were advised by doctors to quit and were provided with support.

Asian-Americans were the racial group least likely to take aspirin and be screened for breast and colorectal cancer, the report said. An estimated 14,000 lives would be saved if 90% of adults over 50 were screened regularly for colorectal cancer, and some 12,000 lives would be saved if 90% of people over 50 received flu vaccinations each year.

Broader use of preventive measures could be encouraged through their inclusion in health insurance plans, and patient education, added Toomey.

"To actually implement this and have the impact of saving 100,000 lives will really require a multi-pronged approach with public health taking the lead," she said.

For all the latest health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.