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Truven Health – NPR Health Poll Finds Women More Proactive About Health Screening

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ANN ARBOR — While nearly half of American women have had a mammogram over the past year, just one quarter of American men have undergone prostate screening over the same time period, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll. Ann Arbor-based Truven Health Analytics was formerly the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

Truven Health Analytics and NPR conduct a monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

The survey, which asked respondents about their attitudes and practices regarding healthcare screenings, found that 49 percent of American women had a mammogram in the past 12 months. Just 27 percent of American men had received a prostate screening in the same time.

The data also shows a stark difference in attitudes towards screening among the two genders. Seventy eight percent of American women 40 years old or older were aware of guidelines for how often and when they should start regular mammograms. Fifty two percent said those guidelines influenced their decision to have a test. By contrast, 67 percent of American men age 50 and older said they were aware of similar guidelines that are recommended for prostate cancer screening. Forty five percent said those guidelines influence them to undergo screening.

When asked about other specific screening procedures they have undergone in the past year, 14 percent of all respondents indicated they had a colorectal screening and 24 percent said they had a diabetes screening.

Overall, 84 percent of respondents said they have a personal physician, a rate that increased with age and income. Ninety six percent of respondents over 65 years old said they had a personal physician, while just 57 percent of those under 35 said they have one. Those who have relationship with a personal doctor were at least 10% more likely to get a screening test.

“Though screening guidelines differ for men and women, these findings illustrate a clear distinction in attitudes toward routine health screening. Additionally, the survey demonstrates the value of having a personal doctor,” said Raymond Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “Women and patients who have a personal physician are better health care consumers in general. Encouraging everyone, especially men, to select and visit a primary care provider often enough to establish a trusted relationship is a first step to improving our nation’s preventative health efforts.”

To date, the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food allergies, and organic and genetically modified foods. NPR’s reports on the surveys are archived online at the Shots health blog here:

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health Pulse Healthcare Survey, an independently funded, nationally representative telephone poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 US households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR. The figures in this month’s poll are based on 3,006 participants interviewed from June 1-13, 2012. The margin of error is 1.8 percent.

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